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.

Artworks up for public auction

There are no artworks by Jean-Michel BASQUIAT currently listed in upcoming public auctions


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