Jean-Michel BASQUIAT (1960-1988)

Other possible identifications: after, attributed, manner

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.


Keith Haring’s collection coming up for auction What’s in the collection of one of the most committed New York artivists of the 1980s? Quite simply the most popular artists on the today’s market: Andy WARHOL and Jean-Michel BASQUIAT, of course, but also Roy Lichtenstein, Kenny Scharf, Futura 2000, Jenny Holzer and George Condo, all friends of […]

Following their Impressionist & Modern Art sales last week, Christie’s and Sotheby’s Contemporary Art sessions generated a combined total of $595.8 million, down 11% on last year’s total, but still reflecting a remarkably buoyant market. After New York’s latest round of major Contemporary Art sales, an article in the New York Times suggests that stability […]

In Artprice’s fortnightly series of auction rankings identifying the Art Market’s primary trends – this week’s Friday Top article looks at the top 10 results hammered by Phillips during the first quarter of 2019. Richter, Lichtenstein, Kippenberger, Basquiat, Brown, Wool and Kaws … Phillips is increasingly taking a leading position on the Contemporary Art market […]

Every other Friday, Artprice posts a “Top” ranking that provides insight into the Art market’s major trends. This week, we look at the artists who have generated the best auction results in Post-War and Contemporary Art so far this year. The prestige sales held during February and March this year highlight four works which each […]

After the records hammered at New York’s prestige Impressionist and Modern Art sales (including records for René Magritte, Oskar Kokoschka, Jean Arp and Tamara de Lempicka), the city’s prestige Contemporary Art sales have just generated even stronger results, with two works close to the 100 million threshold at Christie’s. Christie’s announces a turnover total of […]