So when one of his paintings was sent to the valuation service, it was quickly consigned for sale.

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The son of a merchant family, Yoshihara had no formal art training but quickly became drawn into the art world. In his 20s, he was inspired by European Surrealists, such as Giorgio de Chirico, Joan Miró and Wassily Kandinsky and his early artwork reflected an interest in abstract expressionism and modern theories. During these years, he exhibited in several group shows and established workshops and discussion groups with fellow artists, aiming to bring together the western cultures while keeping a strong Japanese tradition.

In 1954, Yoshihara became the leader of the forward-thinking Gutai Group, a collection of artists who sought to redefine themselves against a backdrop of stifling and outdated 1950s social realist art. The group engaged in a variety of diverse mediums such as paint, film, light, sound and held performances outside using natural materials like pebbles, dirt and twigs. Nothing was off-limits and any material was seen as a tool to build a new language that was free, individual and radical.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 16.17.53 Kazuo Shiraga, Challenge To The Mud, 1955

As his career developed, Yoshihara began to focus his personal work around a more subtracted and minimalist motif -  a circle. He painted them over and over again, never the same one twice, continually searching for the perfect shape. Some believe the circles represent enlightenment. They see the cyclical shapes illustrating a spiritual expression of Zen beliefs. However, according to Yoshihara’s personal writing, he used the circle not out of any profound meaning, but rather because it is a convenient shape.

His influence and important on modern Japanese art cannot be overstated and sales of his artworks at auction regularly command high prices. In November 2015, this circle painting from 1965 sold at Christies Hong Kong, for £193,000, sailing past the high estimate of £111,000:

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 15.18.14 Jiro Yoshihara, Circle, 1965

The painting sent to Barnebys was snapped up by Sothebys Hong Kong, eight months after their celebrated Yoshihara collection sale, Full Circle.

In excellent condition, framed and with the correct authenticity documents, Sothebys consigned this painting with an estimate of 40-60,000 HKD. It will be up for sale in their January 2017 auction so we will bring you all the latest news on the final price as soon as it happens.

If you think it’s time to sell your artwork, send it to Barnebys valuation service and let the specialists come to you!

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