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Basquiat sets records at Sotheby’s Spring Contemporary Art auction

Sotheby’s Spring Contemporary Art auction is one of the highlights of New York City’s art season.

Sotheby’s Spring Contemporary Art Auction 2017

The Evening sale auctioned 51 works of Post-War and Contemporary art.

The Latin artists in this group were the French Jean Dubuffet, Brazilians Mira Schendel and Sérgio de Camargo, Italians Lucio Fontana and Luciano Fabro, and the Haitian-Puerto Rican American Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Basquiat had five pieces in the sale. By far the most important was “Untitled” 1982. The painting was made when he was still unknown, but is from the moment when Basquiat exploded on the art world after “The Radiant Child” article in Artforum magazine.

It is a striking piece. In real life, the mouth looks like it is going to swallow you up. At the auction exhibition, the work of two artists really grabbed you. They were Picasso and Basquiat. It’s a shame Basquiat didn’t have a longer career. He only painted for seven year, but he had the same striking talent of the Spanish master.

The scribbles in Basquiat’s work connect back to Cy Twombly and forward to fellow former street artist José Parlá, whose did murals for the World Trade Center and Barclays Center.

“Untitled” 1982 first appeared at a group show at Alexander Milliken Gallery where it was bought by a private collector. The painting last sold at auction in 1984 for $19,000.

Basquiat has been breaking price records lately. Sotheby’s predicted a $60 million sale. $60 million is not bad for a kid from Brooklyn and the Lower East Side.

The painting sold for $110,500,000 to Yusaku Maezawa, a billionaire Japanese fashion entrepreneur. Last year he bought another Basquiat Untitled 1982 for the then-record $57 million.

The sale set records for an American artist and for a Black artist. It was the first Contemporary work made after 1980 to surpass the $100 million mark.

For more information, visit www.sothebys.com

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