Jean-Michel Basquiat's masterpiece "Untitled" Photo: Sotheby's via AP
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Japanese collector pays record $110.5 mil for Basquiat painting at New York auction

20 Comments

A 1982 artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for a record $110.5 million at Sotheby's auction of contemporary art Thursday night.

Sotheby's said the sale of "Untitled" 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 $100 million, 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, 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."

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

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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20 Comments
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Masterpiece?  where does this bloke get the money?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

in the past two, three years, this guy has dropped about 260 million on art, which is less than 10% of his net worth. i wish he would have spent that on helping people instead of feeding his ego, i mean his art collection.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

That's an amazing price for a Basquiat? You can watch the bidding

http://www.sothebys.com/content/sothebys/en/news-video/videos/2017/the-battle-for-basquiat.html

acrylic, spray paint and oilstick on canvas

72 1/8 by 68 1/8 in. 183.2 by 173 cm.

$3,486/cm sq

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yusaku Maezawa is clearly overjoyed. Enough to have parted with $110.5 million for the 1982 artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

I am struggling to appreciate Yusaku Maezawa sense of humour. The noughts and crosses look suspiciously like my nephews and nieces wandered up and doodled.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Not my style of Art.

But it is worth what people are willing to pay for it.

If he is happy all is good.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

He's worth 3.6 billion, so I guess he can afford it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm pretty neutral about Basquiat but the painting in question makes me think of "Zardoz".

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Ah, I dunno. Sure, it's an obscene amount of money but can you put a price on art?

Actually; scratch that. Clearly you can.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

GW - Maezawa is certainly no fool.

And while the subjective nature of art appreciation is purely in the eye of the beholder ( I happen to like Basquiat and in particular this piece), the exorbitant prices rolling off the auctioneers tongues in recent years is something deserved of deep thinking.

I doubt if Basquiat were alive now (Only 50's) he'd be seeing that price paid.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The only reason I got curious about this story was the Zardoz drop. It does kinda.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@FizzBit

Glad it's not just me :-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i love this piece. i would love to look at it every morning. But like other paintings like Klee, Mondrian, Pollack...it will never happen. But thanks to such people though, there is a chance i can see it. Too many paintings are in private collections solely as an investment. The only reason an artist paints a picture is for it to be seen by as many people as possible. I disagree with @nakano, even if you don't like art, it will give pleasure and thought and inspiration to millions of people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

i would love to look at it every morning.

I think he's going to display it in Chiba, which is agreeable in the sense that it's not going to be hidden away like some kind of show off piece for his rich chums to see during brandy and cigars time.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It looks more like those New York Subway Graffiti or those in those really bad part of the town. Even those Graffiti, many of those look better than this.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Cliffy: He WAS a graffiti artist early in his life. And I have to disagree, I don't think the usual graffiti street art measures up to his skill level.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"When I saw this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art,"

What a sheltered life he must lead.

I am sure most of us can think of much more important things to be grateful for.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I am sure most of us can think of much more important things to be grateful for.

Possibly but its his passion. Not everyone shares the same passions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Had to google this guy, and even though I don't agree with his idea of art, he is definetely a self-made man. So whatever money he wants to spend on art, and helping the arts, good for him. I'd like to know who was the bloke who purchased this for $19000 and has now made a tiny profit of $110481000.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

David Bowie also owned some of his works which were recently sold. Most of the works by Basquiat are in private hands. Guess this week they'll have their values reassessed. The painting sold for $98 million the rest is the auction fee. The value is the sale price.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The painting was very much similar to one of my 5 years old daughter's drawing. I want to know whether he wants another Masterpiece painting similar to that one or better one. My daughter is willing to swap with a year of Lollies supply for one of her Masterpieces.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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