05-19-2017

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Untitled’ Goes for Record $110.5M at Sotheby’s Auction

jean-michel-basquiat - untitled

“Untitled,” a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s

*Whoa! This is astounding news. Thursday night, a painting done by the late artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1982, sold for an incredible record $110.5 million at Sotheby’s auction of contemporary art.

If you’re wondering if that might be a record sale price, the answer is yes. The painting titled “Untitled,” 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 $100 million, including Picasso, Giacometti, Bacon, and Warhol,” said Gregoire Billault, head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department in New York.

At the end of a 10-minute bidding battle, streamed live on Instagram, the piece was purchased by Japanese collector and e-commerce entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa.


“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.”


CNN Tech reports that in an interview with the Observer last year, Maezawa said that while he’d always had a deep interest in art and fashion, he didn’t start collecting until about 10 years ago.

The report add that the billionaire is building a museum in his hometown of Chiba and has been scooping up art at a feverish pace. Including this week’s purchase, Maezawa has spent more than $230 million dollars on contemporary art in the last year alone.

“Untitled” was virtually unknown before it was unveiled at Sotheby’s weeks ago. The auction house said it remained in the same private collection since it was bought at auction in 1984 for $19,000.

“We are thrilled that it was purchased by Yusaku Maezawa for his planned museum so others will have a chance to experience its magic firsthand,” said Billault.


The previous auction record for a Basquiat work was set last May when “Untitled, 1982” sold for $57.3 million, also to Maezawa.

Basquiat unfortunately died of a drug overdose in 1988 at the age of 27.

 

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