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Culture

A Basquiat Has Been Sold For A Staggering $110.5 Million

Its Joined The $100 Million Club.

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s powerful 1982 painting of a skull was brought $110.5 million at Sotheby’s, becoming the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction. Only 10 other works have broken the $100 million mark.

“He’s now in the same league as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso,” said the dealer Jeffrey Deitch, an expert on Basquiat.

The sale of ‘Untitled’ was a thrilling one, four bidders on the phone and in the room had sailed past $60 million in bids for the work forged from oil stick and spray paint. At the end of the auction and after the appluase had died down Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa revealed himself to be the buyer through a post on his Instagram account. “I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece,” he said in the post. “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.”

“It’s a really historical moment,” said Larry Warsh, a longtime Basquiat collector. 

Indeed the sale of this work cements Basquiat’s position as a renowned artist, just last year he became the highest grossing American artist at auction grossing over $171.5 million from 80 works, according to Artprice. Basquiat went from graffiti artist to an art collector darling in the span of a mere seven years. He died at 27 of a drug overdose in 1988. The sale also underscores the importance of black artists, and hopefully will motivate more people to take up art. 

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