Monday 16 December 2019

It was U2's – now it's the highest bidder's

A painting formerly owned by U2 worth millions of euro is to be sold next month.

'Untitled (Pecho/Oreja)' by Jean-Michel Basquiat was sold by the band for £5.1m (€6.2m) in 2008 but it is expected to fetch a much higher price this time as wealthy investors look for alternative investments to stocks and property.

Basquiat was one of a wave of American painters who began as graffiti artists in the 1970s before moving "overground", as it were, to huge critical acclaim.

He is considered one of the most influential "neo-expressionist" and "primitive" painters of the period.

He died, reputedly of a heroin overdose, in 1988 at the age of 27.

Elsewhere at the auction, a painting by Dublin-born Francis Bacon could go for as much as $24m (€18.38m). Bacon's 'Three Studies for a Self-Portrait' dates from 1980 and is one of 11 such smaller-scale triptychs. Painted when the artist was 71 years of age, it has been entered by a European collector.

Sotheby's 56-lot auction on February 12 carries a minimum valuation of £63m (€76m), based on hammer prices.

That's the highest figure for one of the company's February London contemporary sales since the previous art market boom of 2008.

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