Legendary painter and socialite Jean-Michel Basquiat Basquiat’s “Untitled” painting was sold for a record-breaking $85 million at a recent auction in NYC.
According to The New York Times, a Japanese billionaire and art collector, Yusaku Maezawa, sold the 1982 painting at luxury auction house Philips on May 18. Its winning bid was reportedly the third-highest price paid for a Basquiat work, and it was taken via phone by a representative of Phillips in Taipei, Taiwan.
“Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Untitled’, 1982, arrived in NYC to join our upcoming 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 18.”
“Coming from the esteemed collection of Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa, ‘Untitled’ is one of Basquiat’s greatest masterpieces. It is among the artist’s largest canvases at nearly eight feet tall and over sixteen feet wide, with its sheer scale and potency providing a near out-of-body experience for the viewer. The work is a monument to Basquiat’s frenetic technique and an encounter with pure energy.”
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“Untitled” was estimated to be worth approximately $70 million. Maezawa originally purchased it for $57.3 million in 2016 at the prestigious luxury auction house Christie’s in N.Y.
Over a decade prior, in 2004, New York collector and dealer Adam Lindemann bought the iconic painting for $4.5 million.
In 2017, Maezawa paid $110.5 million for another Basquiat painting from 1982, also named “Untitled,” at world renowned auction house Sotheby’s, making it the most expensive American painting ever sold.
The massive work went on display at The Brooklyn Museum for an exhibit dedicated to the late art icon’s life titled “One Basquiat.” The exhibition began on Jan. 26, 2018, and ran until Mar. 11, 2018.
Another one of Basquiat’s 1982 works, titled “Equals Pi,” was featured in a 2021 Tiffany & Co. campaign starring award-winning singer Beyonce and award-winning rapper and businessman Jay-Z. The campaign, titled “About Love,” featured the couple posed in front of a painting from a private collection.
Basquiat rose to fame in the 1980s for his unique art style and quirky fashion sense after gaining recognition for his signature graffiti tag, “SAMO,” in NYC. The Caribbean-American artist tragically died from a drug overdose in 1988, which sent a shockwave through the art community and the world. Nearly a decade later, in 1996, an indie film chronicling his life titled Basquiat was released, starring late rock musician David Bowie.