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Leiko Ikemura's windows add a touch of Japanese fairy tale to a Medieval German church

2 min read  · 17 Jul 2023

Leiko Ikemura “Witty Witches”, installation view, Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin. Copyright the artist, and VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2022. Courtesy of the Georg Kolbe Museum. Photo byEnric Duch

The Japanese-Swiss artist Leiko Ikemura is on the HENI News radar after the inauguration of a series of stained glass windows in a medieval German church.

Leiko Ikemura's HENI Score—a unique artist sentiment—has increased 224%, a spectacular rise in interest in the well-established artist who is based in Germany. Ikemura, who is in her 70s, has had solo shows in prestigious museums in Europe and Japan but it was not until 2022 that she had her first solo shows in New York and in the UK.

The artist’s HENI Score was boosted by these shows and the unveiling in May 2023 of a series of windows she created for St Nikolai, a Medieval church in Brandenburg, Germany. The windows successfully translate into coloured glass her signature, expressive figurative paintings, which draw on Japanese folk tales as a source of inspiration.

An artist’s HENI score amalgamates data such as auction sales, NFT sales, news and social media mentions, gallery shows and museum exhibitions.


Ikemura's auction sales have totalled $564,000 over the past two years. In June, a 1986 painting, Déesse de la guerre, sold for $60,800, more than four times its high estimate, at Christie’s Paris. It had been traded once in the past.

Her works have been offered for $49,000 to $263,000 over the past two years.


The artist’s US debut in 2022 was organized by Fergus McCaffrey of New York, Tokyo, St Barth, in its New York space. The survey show included sculptures, paintings and drawings from across her five-decade-long career.

Ikemura is also represented by Galerie Karsten Greve of Cologne, Paris, St. Moritz. It presented its most recent solo show of her work in 2021-22.

She also works with Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp. Its most recent solo show of her works was in 2022.

Her paintings and sculptures have been offered at prestigious art fairs, including editions of TEFAF and Art Basel.

The artist’s most recent solo museum show opened in June at the Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle, the Netherlands (until September 2023). A solo show “Witty Witches”, featuring mainly sculptural works in bronze and glass, was presented by the Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin, January-May, 2023.

A church window by Leiko Ikemura (2023), Wunderblutkirche St. Nikolai, Bad Wilsnack, Germany. Copyright the artist.


Ikemura is best known for her expressive sculptures in clay, bronze and glass, often featuring the "usagi", Japanese mythological hares and rabbits. She is also known for her “Girls” paintings of ghostly female heads or full-length bodies. The latter were partly inspired as a critical comment on the depiction of women as passive or cute in Japanese Manga and Kawaii culture.

Born in Japan in 1951, she moved to Europe to study in the 1970s. A poet as well as a visual artist, she has taught painting at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin since the 1990s. She has had solo shows at leading museums, including the National Art Center, Tokyo in 2019 and the Kunstmuseum Basel the same year.

Writing of Ikemura’s paintings and sculptures on show at the Sainsbury Centre in 2022, the artist’s first solo museum show in the UK, Apollo magazine wrote that they “invite us to tumble down the proverbial rabbit hole” a reference to Alice in Wonderland in the show’s title “Usagi in Wonderland”.


To get a deeper understanding of Leiko Ikemura’s career visit her HENI Dashboard; a unique graphical data tool illustrating an artist’s auction sales, shows, profiles, mentions and their HENI Score. You can search for any one of the 100,000 Artist Dashboards to quickly appreciate their trajectory as well as sharing via email, text and WhatsApp.


Leiko Ikemura