Kazuo Shiraga (1924-2008)

was a Japanese abstract painter and the first-generation member of the postwar artists collective Gutai Art Association (Gutai). As a Gutai member, he was a prolific, inventive, and pioneering experimentalist who tackled a range of media: in addition to painting, he worked in performance art, three-dimensional object making, conceptual art, and installations, many of which are preserved only in documentary photos and films.
Shiraga is best known for his abstract paintings, or the so-called “foot painting”, which he created by spreading oil paint initially on paper and later on canvas with his feet. Through this original method he had invented in 1954, he made a critical engagement with the tradition of painting, the result of which resonated with European and American gestural abstraction of the 1950s, such as Informel and Abstract Expressionism. In the 1960s and 1970s, he reintroduced tools such as boards and spatulas for spreading the paint.
His experiments outside painting, such as Challenging Mud and Ultramodern Sanbasō, were closely associated with the notion of “picturing,” derived from e (絵), or “picture” in Japanese, that Gutai members shared in exploring new ways of painting. At the same time, his innovations were at times associated with his embrace of violence and the grotesque, which Shiraga had been fascinated with since his childhood.
Among the Gutai members who were promoted by the French art critic Michel Tapié in Europe and the US, Shiraga was most recognized after the leader Jirō Yoshihara and most commercially successful as a solo artist as early as the late 1950s; and his success continues to date with in the international auctions.

Hoshōkai (Lop Nur)
Price realised
USD 5,132,000
Price realised
USD 4,869,000
Chiken-sei kendoshin
Price realised
USD 3,510,000
Chinzei Hachirotametomo
Price realised
GBP 2,531,250