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    Hisao Domoto (1928-2013)
    Solution de Continuité, 1965
    Oil on canvas
    51-1/4 x 63-1/2 inches (130.2 x 161.3 cm)
    Signed, titled, and dated on the reverse: Domoto / Solution de Continuité/ 1965 - No 22 / Tokyo

    Martha Jackson Gallery, New York;
    Private collection, Los Angeles, California.

    Hisao Domoto's conventional artistic foundation in mid-century Kyoto hardly forecast his eventual role as a leader in the Japanese vanguard. His connoisseur father collected antique Japanese painting, calligraphy, and ceramics, and his artist uncle, Domoto Insho, specialized in traditional Japanese painting, nihonga (landscapes and figures rendered in delicate ink washes on silk or scrolls). Following in his uncle's footsteps, Domoto trained in nihonga from 1945-49 at the Kyoto City University of Arts, and several of his early works were selected for the Nitten, or Japan Fine Arts Exhibition.

    In 1952 Domoto traveled with his uncle to Italy, Spain, and France and was so mesmerized with Western art that he decided in 1954 to establish his studio on the Left Bank in Paris. Here, he met the critic and art dealer Michel Tapié, champion of Art informel (Art Without Form), Europe's version of Abstract Expressionism. At the time, Informalist pioneers such as Jean Dubuffet, Georges Mathieu, Pierre Soulages, and Antoni Tàpies were celebrating expressive, spontaneous, and gestural painting, independent of representation and open to interpretation. In this avant-garde think-tank of Paris, Domoto became close friends with Informalists Soulages and Zao Wou-ki, and he met other key modernists studying abroad such as Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell, and Isamu Noguchi. Domoto's successful first solo exhibition at the Stadler Gallery in Paris in 1957 put him on the modernist map; in that same year, he participated in a group show organized by Tapié, "L'art Mondial Contemporain à Tokoyo," which introduced him to fellow Japanese abstractionists from the "Gutai" movement. The following year, Domoto became an international name: he collaborated with Informel and Gutai artists on an exhibition in Osaka, "The International Art of a New Era: USA, Japan, Europe." He also ventured to New York, where he befriended Abstract Expressionists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg and the gallerist Martha Jackson, who represented him for decades.

    Part of his famous Solutions of Continuity series from the early 1960s, the present lot foregrounds Domoto's unique synthesizing of Eastern nihonga and Western Informel influences. In this series, Domoto created an impastoed "screen" of vertical and horizontal strips pushed back to reveal smooth, circular patterns beneath. The overlaid screen evokes traditional Japanese paper, as well as Informel gesture painting; similarly, the circles beneath, while fundamentally abstract, recall the calligraphic moons of nihonga landscapes. Critics praised the push-pull of negative and positive space that Domoto achieved in this series by contrasting light and dark tones and impastoed and flat brushwork. Tapié, for example, described Solutions of Continuity as "an ambiguous space that subsumes both the dialectical attainments of Western mathematicians in topological composition and the intuitive properties that Eastern painting has carefully upheld down through centuries. Which is to say that, no matter how complex, Domoto's paintings are always elegant and intuitive, yet have the precision of clearly delineated proofs" (Michel Tapié, text for Domoto's solo exhibition at the Minami Gallery, Tokyo,1960). Indeed, Domoto's modernist legacy is his blending of Western bravado and structure with Eastern lyricism and fluidity, a pictorial yin-yang.

    Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000.

    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; Scattered minor chips to paint throughout, notable quarter inch loss of paint, center right and center left; two minor quarter inch punctures to canvas along lower right edge; areas of craquelure to the darker pigments; scattered impression marks on the canvas.
    Framed Dimensions 52 X 64 Inches
    *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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    23rd Thursday
    Post-Auction Buys Period Ends
    12 Days 15h 9m
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