Artist Spotlight: Yayoi Kusama

  • Artist Spotlight
  • Modern + Contemporary

Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Yayoi Kusama is well known for her sculptures, installations, paintings, performances and fashion. Kusama is the highest-selling living female artist and has a body of work that spans over the past 70 years.


Yayoi Kusama, Napping Pumpkin
Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1929), Napping Pumpkin, 1993, screenprint, 20.8″ x 25.75″.
Sold: $37,500
Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1939), A Pumpkin GB-D, 2004, screenprint, 9.4″ x 11.1″.
Sold: $40,625

A preeminent figure in the art world, Kusama emerged onto the art scene in the 1960s in New York, collaborating with Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenberg, and Robert Morris and contributed to the rise of feminist and pop art.


Kusama, <em>Grapes</em>
Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1929), Grapes, 1982, screenprint, 12.4″ x 10.6″.
Sold: $21,250
Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1939), Pumpkin, 1983, screenprint, 23" x 19".Estimate: $30,000–$50,000 (one of two to be offered).
Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1939), Pumpkin, 1983, screenprint, 23″ x 19″.
Sold: $31,250

Throughout her work, Kusama has explored such themes as her own obsessive-compulsive disorder, hallucinations, sexuality and freedom. Various Kusama prints that were sold at Clars exhibit her signature style, featuring polka dots and nets in dense patterns with obsessive repetition.


Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1939), Pumpkin, 1983, screenprint, 23" x 19" (one of two to be offered). Estimate: $30,000–$50,000
Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1939), Pumpkin, 1983, screenprint, 23″ x 19″.
Sold: $87,500

In 1993, Kusama represented Japan at the Venice Biennale. She has been the subject of major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo as well as a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2012. In 2017, she opened the Yoyoi Kusama Museum in Tokyo near her studio and the psychiatric hospital where she has voluntarily lived since 1977.


Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1929), High Heels, 1986, screenprint, 12.4" x 16”.
Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1929), High Heels, 1986, screenprint, 12.4″ x 16″.
Sold: $17,500
Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1939), Flower (1), 1992, lithograph in color, 9.4″ x 11.1″.
Sold: $12,500

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