What kind of art does Takashi Murakami make?
Inspired by anime, manga, and the visual language of Japanese Contemporary Pop, Takashi Murakami’s pieces are often frenetic, bold, and full of palpable energy and movement. Not constrained to any one type of media, Murakami’s art is described as “superflat.” It’s often glossy, slick, and uses recurring characters and psychedelic motifs like smiling flowers and mushrooms. His work is heavily inspired by his love of otaku, the Japanese version of comic book culture built around anime and manga.
How much are original paintings and prints by Takashi Murakami worth? View past sale prices, get notified of new works for sale, and read more about Takashi Murakami.
What are the most recognizable Takashi Muramaki designs?
Takashi Murakami has several recognizable designs including Mr. DOB, Miss Ko, and his famous smiling flowers.
Takashi Murakami And then and then and then and then and then (Red), 1999 Silkscreen in colors on wove paper. Sold for $10,625.00 in 2019.
Murakami has stated that Mr. DOB’s appearance is influenced by characters like Sonic the Hedgehog, Yokai (a Japanese folk tale), and Manga characters.
Manga is a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at adults as well as children.
Mr. DOB pieces are often among Murakami’s best performing works at auction, and it could be for this reason that Murakami has used him in virtually any medium you can think of. Mr. DOB often appears in Murakami’s paintings, prints, sculptures, on vinyl balloons, and even animation.
Another trademark character is Miss Ko, AKA Ms. Ko or Miss Ko2, a large-eyed traditional Otaku character who shares many characteristics with Sailor Moon. In many ways, this character is Muramaki’s ode to Otaku culture. There’s something about this character that the artist keeps coming back to, no matter the media. Miss Ko has been featured in several of Murakami’s paintings and sculptures, and also appeared in the manga film, Jellyfish Eyes.
Takashi Murakami Flower Ball, 2008 Plush
Murakami has several tropes or themes that he comes back to over and over again. His smiling flowers are perhaps the most recognizable– and have been featured in many of his collaborations including his series of handbags for Louis Vuitton for the past decade and a half. These flowers, reminiscent of hippy and psychedelic culture have proven to be a big source of inspiration. They appear in many of his collaborations and prints.
Flowers Blooming in This World and the Land of Nirvana, 2013 Offset lithograph in colors on satin wove paper.
What types of Takashi Murakami pieces are the most valuable?
The top-selling, most valuable Takashi Murakami pieces are My Lonesome Cowboy (1998), Miss ko (1997), and Tan Tan Bo (2001). Each is indicative in its own unique way of what makes a Murakami piece so special. Two are sculptures while the third is an iconic acrylic on canvas.
- My Lonesome Cowboy – Sold at auction for $15,161,00 on May 14th, 2008. 1
- Miss Ko – Sold at auction for $6,802,500 on November 8th, 2010.2
- Tan Tan Bo – Sold at auction for $5,037,500 on November 15th, 2018. 3
What’s the value of original Takashi Murakami paintings vs prints?
It’s no question that a Takashi Murakami painting is worth much more than a print. That’s not to say that Murakami’s prints aren’t valuable too — but paintings by Murakami can often sell for millions of dollars. The range for a Murakami painting can be between $200,000 to over $2,000,000.
Murakami is famous for his prints, which often are vehicles for his recurring themes (flowers, Mr. DOB, etc). Since these are often mass-produced, they are often times much more accessible for new collectors (as their price point is often significantly less than original paintings or sculptures). The price range for a Murakami print can be between $1,000 and $4,000.
A lithograph entitled Flowers Blooming in This World and the Land of Nirvana (2013) pictured above sold at a Heritage Auction for $4,000. It was 235 of 300 lithographs. Compare that price to Tan Tan Bo which sold for over $5 million, and you can see why a new collector may start on the lithograph route.
How to get started collecting original Takashi Murakami paintings?
The best way to get started collecting Takashi Murakami paintings is to look for value on newer pieces or work that doesn’t feature any of his trademark characters or his signature. Often these pieces can be experiments in form as well. Several Murakami pieces on the lower end are either printed on wood or skateboard decks. This includes several pieces that have sold in recent years such as a Bunbu-kun Skateboard Deck (2007) which sold for $4,200 on June 21st, 2008.
Takashi Murakami paintings sold by Heritage Auctions
The highest priced Takashi Murakami silkscreen sold at a Heritage Auction as of 2020 is “And then and then and then and then and then” pictured above which went for $10,625 on July 22nd, 2019. It features Murakami’s famous character Mr. DOB and is a perfect example of what to look for in a significant Murakami piece.
How Much is Takashi Murakami Art Worth?
Heritage Auctions has sold hundreds of Takashi Murakami pieces with a price range from $500 to $20,000. Murakami’s art spans so many themes a collector can find the perfect piece to get started. A quick look at some of the Murakami items sold by Heritage Auctions reveals a wide range of motifs and mediums.
SOLD FOR: $20,000.00 – Louis Vuitton by Takashi Murakami Handmade Ultra Rare 18K White Gold Necklace
This Takashi Murakami jewelry piece that sold at a Heritage Auction is actually a collaboration piece between Takashi Murakami and Louis Vuitton. The Louis Vuitton Handmade Ultra Rare 18k White Gold Necklace with Three Diamond, Sapphire, Ruby, and Emerald Unique Pendant sold for $20,000 on December 4th, 2012.
SOLD FOR: $11,875.00 – Takashi Murakami Flower Ball, 2008.
SOLD FOR: $7,500.00 – Takashi Murakami Shangri La, Shangri La and When I Close My Eyes I See Shangri La, (two works), 2012-16
SOLD FOR: $5,000.00 – Louis Vuitton Extremely Rare 2003 Limited Edition Eye Love Monogram by Takashi Murakami White Eye Dare You Overnight Bag
Takashi Murakami vs Banksy Art Values
Takashi Murakami is on-par with a famous urban artist like Banksy. Not only is his work as critically admired as Banksy’s work, but Murakami’s pieces are also often in high demand (though perhaps not quite as rare at auction as Banksy’s). That said, in a head-to-head matchup, Murakami actually comes out ahead. Murakami’s highest-selling piece, Lonesome Cowboy, sold for $15.16 million at auction. Banksy’s highest-selling piece at auction is Devolved Parliament (2009) which sold for just $12.19 million at auction. While both artists are extremely prolific and in demand, we’d actually give the edge to Murakami over Banksy when it comes to how valuable their art is considered at auction.
Takashi Murakami Bio
Takashi Murakami has been called, “the Warhol of Japan,” but this description only scratches the surface of this innovative, bright, and bold artist.
MORE: Browse current auctions, view past sale prices, get notified of new works for sale, and read more about Takashi Murakami.
Murakami is a product of an entire lifetime spent entrenched in the art world of Tokyo. While known for his innovative and bold style, Takashi Murakami has a strong academic foundation in both Japanese and Western art. He studied nihonga, a 19th-century style of Japanese painting in college, then participated in a cultural exchange program that allowed him to study at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York.
That experience drove Murakami even further into Japanese art — while in New York Murakami created Mr. Dob, his most famous character. An instant hit with both the art and pop world, Murakami parlayed his success into helping to create a sustainable art market for Japanese artists. Part of those efforts includes founding the art production company, Kaikai Kiki, and organizing the famed Japanese art fair, Geisai.
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