DescriptionYASUO KUNIYOSHI (Japanese, 1889-1953)
The Cow, circa 1926
Sumi ink on paper
6-3/4 x 8-1/2 inches (17.1 x 21.6 cm)
Signed in Japanese calligraphy lower left
PROPERTY FROM THE KING COLLECTION, TEXAS
The Downtown Gallery, New York;
Peridot Gallery, New York;
Private collection, New York;
ACA Galleries, New York;
Acquired by the present owner from the above, September 1996.
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, "Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection," September 8, 2013-January 5, 2014, no. 83.
P.S. Cable, Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, pp. 201-02, no. 83, illustrated.
"[Yasuo] Kuniyoshi's bold little animal 'portrait' combines traditional Eastern sources with modern Western influences, and a sense of humor with a love of nature. Signed vertically at lower left with a squiggle of Japanese calligraphy, the composition melds natural simplicity with Asian ink wash drawings with Cubistic elements like the angular contours of the animal's back and legs with Expressionistic notations used to describe the jet of urine hitting the ground at lower right. The endearing drawing recalls Kuniyoshi's memories of the reception of his pictures at the time of his first solo exhibition in 1922: 'I wasn't trying to be funny but everyone thought I was. I was painting cows at the time because somehow I felt very near to the cow. Besides I thought I understood the animal. You see I was born, judging by the Japanese calendar, in a "cow year." According to legend I believed my fate to be guided, more or less, by the bovine kingdom. Also, I was interested in the cow because I thought it was decorative as well as ugly and so I painted cows constantly until I was exhausted'" (P.S. Cable, Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, p. 201).
Estimate: $7,000 - $10,000.
Small, light possible surface abrasion near the lower left corner; sheet surface appears to be very slightly abraded and slighly undulating along the lower right edge; pinpoint of foxing below cow's tail. This painting is framed using Optium (museum acrylic glazing), which provides clear legibility for examination with both white light and black light. In order to maintain the integrity and airtight sealing of the housing, the painting was not viewed out of the frame for the condition report. Should you wish to have a more extensive report, we recommend firsthand inspection by a professional conservator. For assistance, please contact the department.
*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.
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