Yayoi Kusama's No. Red B makes $7m at Sotheby's

No. Red B, a 1960 oil on canvas by Yayoi Kusama, top performed at Sotheby's Hong Kong on Sunday.

The 86-year-old Japanese artist's typically vibrant work made $7m at the Modern and Contemporary Asian Evening Art Sale.

  At 1.7 metres high, No. Red B's large size was a major factor in the price

Kusama - one of the best selling female artists in history - is famed for her polka dot works. This example - standing at 1.7 metres tall - is one of her most striking, explaining the strong performance.

The sale falls just short of Kusama's auction record of $7.1m, set by White No. 28 in November last year.

That $7.1m figure places Kusama in second place on the list of most valuable living female artists. The record is held by Cady Noland's Bluewald (1989) sculpture, which made $9.8m in May.

"As one of the earliest Japanese artists to reach New York in the Post-war and Post-occupation era, Kusama Yayoi's significance in the history of art was recognised as early as in the sixties in both the United States and in Europe," explains Sotheby's.

A painting by Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi demolished its estimate at the auction.

Paradise, produced by the pair in 2014, sold for $5.4m - defeating its valuation 17 times over.

Chinese businessman Qian Fenglei is its new owner.

The sale of the oil on canvas, which depicts Earth, will go towards awareness of environmental issues.

The auction was one of the early highlights of Sotheby's Hong Kong Autumn sales, which run until October 7.

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