Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2024 Spring Auctions > Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Yuichi Inoue (1916-1985)
Chō(Painted in 1972)

Ink on paper

30.5 × 45.5 cm. 12 × 17 7/8 in.

Stamped with one artist's seal on bottom right

1996-1998, YUICHI INOUE: catalogue raisonné of the works 1970-1976 Vol 2, Unac Tokyo, Tokyo, No.72153
Original Collection of Masaomi Kaikai
Gallery Kojima, Tokyo
Private Collection, Asia

Note: a label of Unac Tokyo studio founded by Masaomi Kaikai is affixed on the reverse

The Pinnacle of Virtue: True to the Heart
Debut of the Only "Chō" Work by Yuichi Inoue in Auction

Yuichi Inoue was born in 1916 in Tokyo. After graduating from the art normal college, he worked as a high school art teacher. In 1941, he decided to explore the art of calligraphy and became a student of Ueda Sanku. His artistic achievements were fully showcased at the 4th São Paulo Art Biennial in 1957, leaving a lasting impact on the art scene.

In 1966, at the age of 50, Inoue took on the role of head of academic affairs at Samukawa Junior High School. It was there that he met Mayuno Sato, a 28-year-old art teacher and calligraphy club advisor. The two frequently exchanged ideas on calligraphy, leading Inoue to develop an admiration for her gradually. However, due to his conservative approach to relationships, he suppressed these feelings until the end.

Starting from that particular time, Inoue's writing style underwent a significant change. He moved on from his previous forceful themes like poverty, ignorance, and clarity and began incorporating softer and more aesthetic imagery in his works. He frequently used symbols like love, flowers, and butterflies to express his feelings. His brushstrokes also transformed from being "unrestrained" to "restrained," delicately conveying his emotions of longing and affection. The artwork titled Chō, created in 1972 was his only Chō work among his 2000 pieces that have created over the years, demonstrated its precious meaning to the artist.

Simplicity's Art: Graceful Mastery

The artwork has an almost square structure that portrays the components of the "butterfly" character - "虫" and "枼" - in nearly equal proportions. Unlike the previous bold and vigorous strokes, the character "蝶" has a more square and orderly overall shape, giving a sense of tidiness and freshness. The left half of the "虫" character is shaded with dense ink, with both mouth components in the middle filled to create a visual focal point. On the right side, the "枼" character is executed with narrower brushstrokes and completed stroke by stroke with meticulous attention to detail.

In this piece, the artist abandons the slogan of "writing with the body" and instead rhythmically releases the energy of the body. Viewing the artwork, one can imagine the artist sitting upright at a table, with an inkstone set and a scroll of paper, solemnly recording each stroke. With a humble and almost "reverent" attitude, the artist presents a lifetime of dedication and artistic pursuit, subverting the previous impression of being "strong" and "bold," adeptly handling complexity with simplicity and lifting weight effortlessly.

In his work Chō, Inoue Yuichi carefully created a vivid and detailed inner world through his calligraphy. He was passionate about art and uses his skill to express the true essence of words, creating a script that is authentic to oneself and aligned with one's character. This is not just calligraphy but a representation of the beauty of ‘Shodō,' which reaches a state of virtuosity.

Price estimate:
HKD: 40,000 – 60,000
USD: 5,100 - 7,700

Auction Result:
HKD: 98,400



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