A Japanese artist living in a psychiatric clinic earned $80 million in a year (7 photos)

26 May 2024
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This is what the best-selling artist of the 21st century looks like: Yayoi Kusama. She is 95 and this year topped the Hiscox Artist Top 100, which ranks artists based on annual sales of work they have created since 2000. During the year, the Japanese woman earned $80 million.





Yayoi Kusama's calling card is polka dot canvases. She has been creating collages, soft sculptures and installations for over 70 years. And she is a professional artist, not self-taught.



In almost every interview he emphasizes that

If it weren’t for art, I would have committed suicide long ago.



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Kusama suffers from mental disorders. In the 70s of the last century, the disease began to progress, so the artist moved to live in a psychiatric clinic in Tokyo. She's been there for over 40 years. He works in a studio near the hospital.



Yayoi Kusama's sales have grown steadily for three years in a row. The number of works sold is also increasing from year to year, as is their average price: from $621 thousand in 2020 to $1.59 million in 2023. In 2014, her painting entitled “White No. 28” sold for $7.1 million.



The artist was born in 1929 into a rather strict and wealthy family. Even at a young age, the artist was visited by various auditory and visual hallucinations, and she fought against them by creating patterns of repeating lines and dots in order to abstract herself from the thoughts swarming in her head.

Art critics say that in her work there was a pronounced “phallic period” associated with an aversion to sex. Allegedly, her father constantly cheated on her mother, and she forced her daughter to follow him.



All of Yayoi's works are distinguished by bright colors and an abundance of small dots and specks. The artist herself calls her paintings “self-drowning” - an endless repetition of lines and dots that drowns out the noise in her head.



Even in a psychiatric clinic, the artist does not stop creating. Her works are exhibited in museums and galleries around the world, and collectors are willing to pay millions for them.


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