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Nobuyoshi Araki (Japanese, b.1940)


Birth Place: Tokyo, Japan


Who is photographer Nobuyoshi Araki?

Nobuyoshi Araki is a Japanese photographer whose work blends erotic images with contemporary art movements. He has published many photography books since the 1970s. perhaps the most famous is Winter Journey (1993) which was a photographic diary of his life with his wife, who eventually died of ovarian cancer in 1990. Araki’s wife, Yoko, was the subject of much of his art during her lifetime. He has worked with Bjork, most famously for the cover art for her album Telegram (1997). 

He has won numerous awards throughout his long and illustrious career, including the Sun Prize (1964), the Society of Photography Award (1990), and the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art (2008). He has made many films since the 1980s and was the subject of the documentary Arakimentari (2004) by acclaimed American director, Travis Klose. He has been exhibited at some of the most cutting edge and exciting galleries in the world, including multiple times at the Anton Kern Gallery in New York and the SF MoMA. His work is held in several permanent public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Goetz Collection in Munich, and the National Science and Media Museum in the UK. 

What kind of art does Nobuyoshi Araki make?

Nobuyoshi’s art almost always involves two criteria: it is deeply autobiographical and also deeply erotic. Much of his work has to do with his photography books series, which he has produced since the 1970s. He also has made several films, including High School Girl Fake Diary (1981). While initially considered a disappointment to some of Araki’s fans, it has since found a cult following. He also has produced many paintings. The concept behind Araki’s art has also made him a fascinating subject for other artists, and as such has had multiple documentaries and films made about his life. 

How did photographer and artist Nobuyoshi Araki get started?

Nobuyoshi Araki was born in Tokyo. He received his photography degree from Chiba University in 1963. After, he worked for a period of time at the famed Japanese advertising agency, Dentsu, where he met his future wife and muse, Yoko Aoki. They began producing work together in the early 1970s when Araki’s work stirred much controversy and interest. While his subjects have changed and grown, the controversy has not. It is still central to any discussion of Araki’s prolific and provocative career. 

How much are Nobuyoshi Araki photos and paintings worth?

A Nobuyoshi Araki piece is typically valued between a few thousand dollars, up to five figures. The most ever paid for a Nobuyoshi Araki piece was for the photograph, YAKUSA, 1994 (1994). It sold for $67,770 at auction on May 23rd, 2015. It is an erotic, black and white photo and has all the drama and desire one expects from an Araki piece. This could be a reason why it outperformed even its high estimates by almost four times the amount initially guessed. 

Where to buy Nobuyoshi Araki photographs for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Nobuyoshi Araki photographs?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.

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