Tamotsu Yagi Collection Expected To Sell For $6 Million

Sotheby’s, the esteemed auction house, announces the unveiling of the highly anticipated landmark auction event titled “No Detail is Small: Art and Design from The Tamotsu Yagi Collection,” scheduled to grace New York this June.

This extraordinary collection, curated meticulously, brings together soul-stirring works by acclaimed artists such as Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, CY Twombly, and Richard Long, among other luminaries, offering a profound exploration of the dynamic intersection between art and design through the discerning lens of Tamotsu Yagi, a globally renowned Art Director.

Carrying an estimated value between $4 – 6 million, this vibrant assembly of artistic marvels epitomizes the avant-garde approach to contemporary design championed by the revered Japanese architect and designer.

It is poised to be unveiled through a dedicated evening sale at Sotheby’s New York on 5 June, serving as the centrepiece of Sotheby’s New York Design Week festivities.

The Essence of “No Detail is Small”

“No Detail is Small” stands as a testament to the culmination of Yagi’s parallel odysseys as both a ‘collector’ and a ‘creator,’ encapsulating the ideals and principles of exemplary design that have been the cornerstone of his illustrious career. In the words of Yagi himself, “Design should be equipped with social relevance, in addition to beauty and functionality.”

Exploring the Unveiling of "No Detail is Small": The Tamotsu Yagi Collection
Jean Prouvé, “Hublots” Door Panel, C. 1950; Jean Prouvé, “Visiteur” Armchair, C. 1952; Jean Prouvé, “Antony” Bookcase, C. 1954; Jean Prouvé, “Potence” Wall Light, C. 1950

Born in 1949 in Kobe, Japan, Yagi embarked on a prolific career journey, spending seventeen formative years at a multidisciplinary design firm in Tokyo. In 1984, he made a pivotal move to California, where he was personally recruited by Douglas Tompkins, the co-founder of the renowned San Francisco-based apparel company Espirit.

As the Art Director at Espirit, Yagi wielded his creative prowess to spearhead and collaborate on every facet of the brand’s identity, ranging from advertising to packaging and retail design.

Notable collaborators included luminaries from the Memphis Design Movement, such as Ettore Sottsass, Shiro Kuramata, and Aldo Cibic. Under Yagi’s visionary leadership, the development of the ‘ESPRIT Graphic Look’ garnered international acclaim.

Influencing Visionaries and Innovators

During this pivotal phase of his career, Yagi’s groundbreaking work caught the attention of none other than Steve Jobs, who frequented the Esprit campus and found profound inspiration in Yagi’s design ethos.

Yagi’s seminal contributions propelled Esprit to become the first West Coast company to receive the esteemed AIGA Leadership Award. Subsequently, Yagi earned the distinction of being one of the youngest inductees into the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI).

Exploring the Unveiling of "No Detail is Small": The Tamotsu Yagi Collection
Jean Prouvé, Rare “Kangourou” Armchair, C. 1951; Charlotte Perriand “Sandoz” Stool, C. 1967; Cy Twombly, Death Of Giuliano De Medici, 1962

In 1991, he established Tamotsu Yagi Design in San Francisco, amassing an eclectic international clientele. His illustrious portfolio includes notable commissions such as signage systems and designs for architectural luminaries Yoshio Taniguchi and Kengo Kuma, logo design for the Foundation Beyeler by Renzo Piano, product design for United Colors of Benetton, and design consultation for Pixar.

In the year 2000, Yagi received a direct commission from Steve Jobs, laying the groundwork for the design concepts that would define the future retail stores of the iconic company.

His pioneering graphic and industrial design works now grace the prestigious permanent collection of SFMOMA, while he currently serves as the Art Director for the World Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan.

A Celebration of Unparalleled Excellence

A testament to its unparalleled eminence, a portion of the collection was recently honoured through an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2022.

In anticipation of the forthcoming auction extravaganza in June, select highlights from the collection will be on display at Sotheby’s Los Angeles from the 23rd to the 26th of April, followed by a showcase in New York from the 3rd to the 12th of May. The entire collection will be available for public viewing at Sotheby’s New York galleries from 31st May to 5th June.

Further details and auction highlights are poised to be unveiled in due course, shedding illuminating insights into the inspiration behind each acquisition and its profound impact on Yagi’s artistic voyage.

Quoting the Experts

“The Contemporary artists in Tamotsu Yagi’s collection — CY Twombly, Richard Long, On Kawara, and George Rickey — were all fascinated by the intricacies of time, movement, and space. These abstract themes are beautifully rendered across the collection and have influenced Mr. Yagi’s own design philosophy over the last three decades.” – Haleigh Stoddard, Sotheby’s Senior Specialist, Head of Contemporary Curated

In conclusion, the unveiling of “No Detail is Small: Art and Design from The Tamotsu Yagi Collection” marks a pivotal moment in the realm of contemporary art and design.

Exploring the Unveiling of "No Detail is Small": The Tamotsu Yagi Collection
Charlotte Perriand, Console From Maison De La Tunisie; C. 1967 Jean Prouvé, Metropole Chair, C. 1950; Cy Twombly, Roman Notes A Set Of Six, C. 1970; Charlotte Perriand, Meribel Stool, C. 1967

Through the discerning curation of Sotheby’s, this landmark auction event not only celebrates the visionary creativity of Tamotsu Yagi but also offers a profound exploration of the intricate interplay between art, design, and cultural influences.

With a rich tapestry of artistic masterpieces from renowned creators and a narrative steeped in innovation and excellence, the event promises to captivate collectors, enthusiasts, and scholars alike.

As anticipation builds for the auction spectacle in June, it is evident that Yagi’s enduring legacy continues to shape and inspire the realms of art and design, leaving an indelible mark on the global creative landscape.

Images: Sotheby’s

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