Monday 24 July 2017

Basquiat's 'graffiti' masterpiece sells for $110m

Yusaku Maezawa, who bought the $110m Basquiat painting
Yusaku Maezawa, who bought the $110m Basquiat painting

An artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat has sold for a record $110.5m (€100m) at Sotheby's auction of contemporary art.

Sotheby's said the sale of 'Untitled' (1982) was an auction record for the artist. It also set a record price for an American artist at auction. The painting's graffiti-like typography depicts a face in the shape of a skull.

"Tonight, Jean-Michel Basquiat entered the pantheon of artists whose works have commanded prices over $100m, including Picasso, Giacometti, Bacon, and Warhol," said Gregoire Billault, head of Sotheby's Contemporary Art Department in New York.

The piece was purchased by noted Japanese collector and e-commerce entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa after a 10-minute bidding war that was watched by thousands live on Instagram.

"When I saw this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art," said Maezawa, who plans to display it in his museum in Chiba, Japan after loaning it to institutions and exhibitions around the world.

Maezawa said he hopes the piece "brings as much joy to others as it does to me."

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Untitled’, which was sold for $110m by Sotheby’s auction house in Manhattan, New York
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Untitled’, which was sold for $110m by Sotheby’s auction house in Manhattan, New York

'Untitled' was virtually unknown before it was unveiled at Sotheby's weeks ago.

Irish Independent

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