An iconic silkscreen print by Andy Warhol of actress Elizabeth Taylor, Silver Liz (Ferus Type), has sold for ￥2.3 billion JPY ($18.9 million USD) in Tokyo. According to Shinwa Auction Co., which held the auction, it is the highest bid ever seen at an auction in Japan.
The auction was held on March 30 at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport bonded auction site.
The portrait, created in 1963, is one of the “Silver Liz” series and measures about 1 x 1 meter. It is a fine example of Warhol’s silkscreen technique.
Hikonobu Ise, the founder of Ise Foods Inc., a major retailer of eggs, owned it as part of the “Ise Collection” of artwork.
Ise Foods is currently facing huge debt that requires it to reorganize its business affairs.
Art Auctions in Japan
The March 30 event was the second art auction to utilize a bonded warehouse. The first took place on October 1, 2021. However, this was the first bonded art auction held by an international alliance in Japan.
Prior to 2021, taxation at customs clearance at auctions in Japan was a barrier to the sale of items from overseas.
By using bonded warehouses, auction items can be exempted from customs duties and other taxes.
Haneda Airport’s Public Relations Department explained. “After the partial revision of the Basic Circular on Customs Law, it was very moving for us to be able to hold the first bonded art auction in Japan in October 2021,” said the department in a response to questions from JAPAN Forward, adding: “We are also pleased that we were able to continue our art auction by the International Alliance in March 2022.”
“Our company believes that this project, combining the extensive experience in customs bond management cultivated over many years by the Japan Airport Terminal Group and the expertise of Haneda Future Research Institute Inc in the field of art and culture, not only creates new value at Haneda Airport but also expands opportunities for the further revitalization of the domestic art market,” the Public Relations Department said.
The airport hopes to continue providing “hospitality” and “safety and security” to its customers as in the past and to function as a platform for spreading Japanese cultural values abroad.
As a cultural hub, Haneda Airport will be hosting an exhibition at Terminal 1 from April 24 to May 8, 2022, featuring a collaborative project by over 100 artists. Work by students and graduates of the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Music of Tokyo University of the Arts will be featured.
Author: Shaun Fernando