Rare Artwork Gifted by Yayoi Kusama to Her Doctor Could Sell for up to $14 Million USD

The prolific artist had used her works as currency to pay for her medical treatments.

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Rare early artwork by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama that have never been exhibited to the public will soon be up for sale.

The pieces, which feature her signature Infinity Nets motif, will be offered in a special single-owner collection sale at Bonhams New York in May called Kusama: The Collection of the late Dr Teruo Hirose. There will be three paintings and eights works on paper available, and the total collection is estimated to be worth up to $14 million USD.

Kusama gifted the art to her lifelong friend and doctor Teruo Hirose, who came to America from Japan within a few years of Kusama. He made a name for himself by providing low-cost or pro bono medical care to Japanese immigrants, including Kusama, who used her artwork as currency to pay for her medical treatments.

According to Bonhams, the paintings reflect the use of color not usually seen in Kusama’s later work.

“These early works are exceptionally rare due to Kusama’s use of the color red — almost all her other works of this period are white. The third painting in the collection, Untitled, is a very early example of Kusama combining vibrant colors and the scale of the work lends an immersive quality, something that foreshadows the artist’s later work such as her Infinity Rooms.”

In other news, a new book about Kusama’s career and her profound mental health journey will be available for purchase on April 22.

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