Cartoons are cute and fun, but could they be a money-spinner too? The contemporary sale at Sotheby’s Honk Kong auction proved so, where a cartoon of an angry girl broke sale records left, right and centre.
The cartoon in question is the work of artist Yohitomo Nara. It is titled “Knife Behind Back”, a pretty straightforward title that quite explains what’s happening in the picture. The painting features a young girl wearing a red tunic and looking quite angry. One of her hand is behind her back, presumably holding the knife mentioned in the title. The possible reason why the painting took away such a large sum is perhaps the extreme emotions involved in it. On one hand, the young girl is cute and almost innocent. On the other hand, she is full of childish rage. But amidst all this, the hidden knife behind her speaks of a far greater danger, all set to attack the unknown person in front of her.
Nara, who is from Japan, created the work in 2000. Measuring 7feet-by-7feet, the work was Nara’s first project in Japan after his 12-year long stay in Germany. Sold at $24.9 million, “Knife Behind Back” became Nara’s most expensive work by a long shot. It also made a record of highest sale for Sotheby’s contemporary sale. It broke the previous record which was made earlier that day by almost 5 times. Official twitter handle of Sotheby’s took to twitter to announce the sale.
#AuctionUpdate A new world auction record for Yoshitomo Nara has been achieved in our #HongKong Contemporary Art Evening Sale, with 'Knife Behind Back', sold for HK$196m / US$25m, nearly five times the previous auction record set earlier today. pic.twitter.com/JBsrFhi1Gg
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) October 6, 2019
The contemporary sale event took place over 5 days at Sotheby’s even while protestors raged outside. The ongoing Honk Kong protests touched outside the gallery too, where the police responded with an iron hand. While the protestors and police exchanged petrol bombs and tear gas, the sale inside kept making new records.