Jean-Michel BASQUIAT (1960-1988)

Other possible identifications: after, attributed, manner, follower

Born in Brooklyn in 1960 of mixed Haitian and Puerto Rican origins, Jean-Michel Basquiat was effectively the first African-American artist to be celebrated by the art world. Bold, energetic, initiatory, his work contains numerous cultural symbols as well as artistic, musical, urban, social and political references. During a first ‘disappearance’ from home (aged 17) he befriended Al Diaz, an accomplice of the SAMO (Same Old Shit) tags.

In 1979, the young graffiti artist exhibited with Jenny Holzer, Kiki Smith and Kenny Sharf. Two years later, his work was shown in an exhibition titled New York / New Wave at the MoMA PS1 alongside works by Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol, the latter who became his friend and mentor. With Warhol’s support, successes followed in rapid succession: Basquiat was the youngest artist invited to Documenta 7 in Kassel (aged 21 in 1982) and his was subsequently shown at the Whitney Museum Biennale and at Larry Gagosian’s gallery.

When he died at the age of 27 (1988) Basquiat had produced over 800 paintings and 1,500 drawings. He had already become an icon and his fame continued growing posthumously. Ten years after his death, one of his paintings became the first Contemporary artwork to fetch a 7-digit result at auction (1998). In 2017, he became the first Contemporary artist to cross the $100 million threshold at auction with a work that fetched $110.5 million at Sotheby’s. Purchased for $19,000 in 1984, Untitled (1982) was resold 5,800 times that amount 33 years later to Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa.


The major sales in May will be offering works from a number of exceptional collections including the Macklowe, the Ammann, the Anne H. Bass, the Maezawa and even the Gersten and Jacobs collections. So important are these collections that the sale of their “nuggets” promises to revise several global auction records! An Andy Warhol Marilyn […]

Last Wednesday, three marquee sales at Sotheby’s Hong Kong took a total of 221.8 million dollars, the highest amount ever achieved in a single evening at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. This spectacular total included the sale of an exceptional De Beers Blue Diamond that fetched 57.5 million dollars, one of the highest prices ever paid for […]

Since March 15, the 2021 Global Art Market Report is available on This report offers an analysis of global auction sales of fine art, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, print, videos, installations, tapestries – and NFTs – but excluding antiques, anonymous cultural property and furniture. It covers the period from 1 January 2021 to […]

Christie’s took $330 million on 1 March This week Christie’s hosted its first major sales of 20th and 21st Century Art of the year, with results confirming trends seen in recent months. Its Art of the Surreal evening sale in London was clearly dominated by René Magritte, whose five works fetched a total of $16.9 […]

The calendar of major art auctions has been underway since the end of January, in particular with the sale of Botticelli’s superb The Man of Sorrows, a masterpiece that fetched $45.4 million at Sotheby’s New York at the end of January. Nevertheless, the pace will accelerate in 15 days: Christie’s and Sotheby’s are once again […]