Mr Doodle 4-metre Painting Sells for Record-Breaking US$1.02m at Tokyo Chuo Auction

The Value has previously talked about Mr Doodle, the 26-year-old creative doodler who experienced a meteoric rise recently. His work only debuted on the auction stage in April this year, but his rise to fame was quick, with his limited edition works and one-and-only paintings selling for many times their estimates. 

The British artist is also no stranger to Asian art lovers. His 4-metre artwork Spring was just hammered down at JPY 95m (US$890,210), 12 times its pre-sale estimate, at Tokyo Chuo Auction. With fees, the mighty painting realised JPY 109m (around US$1.02m) and marked the artist’s auction record. 

Mr Doodle creating his painting Spring

Mr Doodle creating his painting Spring

Part of the painting Spring

Part of the painting Spring

Lot 331|Mr Doodle Spring, Acrylic on canvas

Created in: 2019
Size: 213 x 413 cm
Provenance: Acquired by the present owner from Daikanyama Hillside Forum
Estimate: JPY 8,000,000 - 12,000,000
Hammer price: JPY 95,000,000
Price realised: JPY 109,250,000

Auction house: Tokyo Chuo Auction
Sale date: 2020/8/10

Mr Doodle has experienced a meteoric rise

Mr Doodle’s last auction record was set by RED ZAP Mr Doodle 

Mr Doodle’s auction history only started four months ago. His previous auction record was set by RED ZAP Mr Doodle, a unique piece which was sold at Sotheby’s in a day sale in July. The painting measures at 122 x 183 cm and realised HK$525,000 (around US$67,090). 

Spring, with a size of 213 x 413 cm, is undoubtedly larger in comparison with RED ZAP Mr Doodle. Created in early 2019, the work, as seen in its name and the green background, is part of the doodler’s ‘Four Seasons’ series. The other works in the series are Summer (yellow background), Autumn (orange background) and Winter (blue background). 

Spring was first presented in the summer of 2019 at Daikanyama Hillside Forum. The auction house said that the Japanese collector who acquired the work was fascinated by the artist’s energetic performance and the thriving theme represented in painting. 

Mr Doodle at Daikanyama Hillside Forum

Part of the painting Spring

Part of the painting Spring

Mr Doodle’s name emerged in the art world in around 2015. His unique style of impromptu, detailed doodling became viral online, grabbing the attention of many youngsters. His social media fan base grew rapidly and he gained some 2.6 million followers online. International brands like Adidas, Fendi and Samsung have also done collaborations with the doodler. 

However, making a name for an artist in the auction world is not an easy task, despite the artist’s success. A big part of Mr Doodle’s popularity in the auction industry is credited to the selling exhibition the Sotheby’s organised for the artist. 

Mr Doodle’s work at his solo exhibition with Sotheby’s 

Mr Doodle’s work at his solo exhibition with Sotheby’s 

In December last year, Sotheby’s Hong Kong collaborated with Mr Doodle and held the show titled Mr Doodle Invades Sotheby’s Selling Exhibition for the artist. It featured 52 doodles which took inspiration from classic Eastern and Western artworks, including Mona Lisa, The Scream, The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Sanyu’s Nu which sold for HK$197m at Sotheby’s two months prior to the exhibition. 

Before the exhibition commenced, enthusiastic Asian collectors had already snatched up all the works for sale. The paintings were priced between HK$50,000 – 200,000 (US$6,400 - $25,640) and their sizes varied from 50 x 50 cm to 100 x 200 cm. 

After the exhibition, Sotheby’s arranged for Mr Doodle’s work to be offered at an online sale to test the waters in April 2020. 

Orange Fish, screenprint on paper, signed, numbered 89/100, 35 x 35 cm|April 2020, Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Estimate: HK$1,000-2,000, Price realised: HK$75,000

The Mr Doodle prints offered on the online sale were Pink Bird and Orange Fish which both measure at 35 cm x 35cm and were one of 100 editions. The prints soared through their estimate of HK$1,000-2,000 and fetched HK$50,000 and HK$75,000 respectively, 50 and 75 times the estimate. 

In June, Sotheby’s Hong Kong held their online sale called Contemporary Showcase:Summer Lovin’. Amongst the 31 lots offered, 16 were Mr Doodle paintings and all of them sold for impressive prices. From one-and-only paintings to prints and figures, they all realised prices which were many times their estimates. Below are two works featured in the sale, namely Blue Kitty and The Doodler

Blue Kitty, giclee print with diamond dust, numbered 24/50, 58.5 x 82 cm|June 2020, Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Estimate: HK$5,000 - 7,000, Price realised: HK$175,000

Mr Doodler, resin figure with detachable pen, number 157 from an edition of 250, 35 cm in height|June 2020, Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Estimate: HK$5,000-7,000, Price realised: HK$47,500

It is no surprise that Mr Doodle’s RED ZAP Mr Doodle had appeared at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art day sale. With a pre-sale estimate of HK$120,000-220,000, the work sold for HK$525,000 with fees (US$67,730), setting the auction record for the doodler. Today, Spring has surpassed this record by achieving a staggering JPY 109m (around US$1.02m). 

All eyes are on the next Mr Doodle lot at auction in hopes that his auction record will reach a new high.