Sleepless Night (Standing), a 1997 acrylic on canvas by current Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, sold with a 95.8% increase on its top estimate at Sotheby's on April 5, bringing $1.2m.
The artwork, which features a cartoon-like image of a scowling little girl, led Sotheby's Hong Kong auction You Are Not Alone: Yoshitomo Nara works from The Kurokochi Collection, which featured a comprehensive selection of distinctive works by the popular artist.
A 2006 acrylic on canvas entitled White Night, depicting a young girl with exaggerated features against a pale backdrop, also put in a strong performance, bringing $1.1m.
An unusual circular work in acrylic, starring another scowling little girl in a green rocket, sold for $468,862.
Mr Kurokochi supported Nara before he was widely known. Kurokochi saved for long periods in order to purchase works by Nara. With Nara, he reflects, "you might be lonely, but you are not alone."
Sale totals exceeded $5.2m and 89% of lots were sold.
Sotheby's Evelyn Lin commented: "The world's first auction of a private collection dedicated to Yoshitomo Nara's works demonstrates the ability of a collector who pursues the art they love, even working within limited means, to assemble a collection which is highly desirable."
Outstanding Asian art works are proving popular among international collectors. An atmospheric oil on canvas by contemporary Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki led Sotheby's sale of 20th century Chinese art on April 6, bringing $4.8m - a new auction record for the artist's work.
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