Basquiat Work Sets New Record at Auction
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 Untitled painting became the most expensive American work ever sold at auction. After a bidding war at a Sotheby’s auction in New York in May, Untitled sold for $110.5 million, nearly three times the expected price.
The winning bidder was 41-year-old Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who posted an Instagram message reading, “I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece. When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible.”
Last year, Maezawa paid $57.3 million for another untitled work by Basquiat.
Besides being the most expensive work by an American artist ever sold at auction, it is also the highest price ever paid for the work of an African-American artist and the first piece of art done after 1980 to exceed $100 million.
Basquiat and Warhol Collaborations Set New Record at Auction
Andy Warhol became a mentor to Basquiat, and Basquiat became an inspiration for Warhol. After not actually picked up a paint brush for almost twenty years, in 1982, Warhol collaborated with the then 23-year old Basquiat on a series of paintings. The idea of artists working together on a single project was the brainchild of Swiss art dealer, Bruno Bischofberger. The symbols used by each artist is clearly demarcated in each work, like Wahol’s General Electric logo and Basquiat’s victorious boxer, and they meld beautifully in each work.
Two of their collaborative works, both of which were owned by Tommy Hilfiger, were auctioned on June 28th. Both exceeded estimated highs.
Sweet Pungent sold for $5,675,643 and New Flame for $3,083,441.
Radiant Child Wins 2017 Awards
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, won the 2017 Caldecott Award, the 2017 ALA Loretta Scott Award and was nominated for the 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary work.
Steptoe used his own collage works to illustrate the picture book for children that tells the story of a young Basquiat, who drew everything he saw with unbridled enthusiasm.
The name Radiant Child was given to him by art critic Rene Ricard in a 1981 Artforum Magazine article.
The book is a wonderful way for children to learn about Basquiat and understand that you don’t have to color inside the lines to be a great artist.