Untitled

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris
    Christie's East, New York, November 12, 1991, lot 190
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Basquiat was compelled to tell the truth as he saw it and realize his vision, but his hypersensitivity, which was so innately connected to his process, detected many demons and enemies – some real, some exaggerated, and some imagined." Glenn O’Brien

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s drawings act as a swift visual recorder, absorbing the rapid sensory of his surroundings in a flurry of vivid markings. Untitled, 1983 depicts the face of a ferocious canine beast, a glaring jaw full of pointed teeth gapes open while his round, clown-like black nose seems to float between his wide open eyes. Thin lines of sergeant blue oil stick highlight his eyes and teeth, forming blue glasses around his eyes adding a playful, cartoonish nature to this furry animal.

    Fred Hoffman has commented that “with the exception of Picasso, few acclaimed painters of the 20th century invested the same time or energy to works on paper that is evidenced in their painting.” (Fred Hoffman, Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawings: Work from the Schorr Family Collection, exh. cat., Acquavella Galleries, New York, 2014, p. 37) Drawing, for Basquiat, allows his symbols to stand alone at their most basic level, they act as succinct, spontaneous forms. Whether friend or foe is depicted in Untitled, 1983, one could imagine this creature, barking at the city street sounds, appearing to Basquiat as a menacing or comical character fleeting in front of him. Robert Storr elaborates that for the artist, drawing “was something you did rather than something done, an activity rather than a medium. The seemingly throw-away sheets that carpeted his studio might appear little more than warm-ups for painting, except that the artist, a shrewd connoisseur of his own off-hand and under foot inventions did not in fact throw them away, but instead kept the best for constant reference and re-use. Or, kept them because they were, quite simply, indestructibly vivid.” (Robert Storr, “Two Hundred Beats Per Min,” Basquiat Drawings, exh. cat., The Robert Miller Gallery, New York, 1990, n.p.)

  • Artist Bio

    Jean-Michel Basquiat

    American • 1960 - 1988

    One of the most famous American artists of all time, Jean-Michel Basquiat first gained notoriety as a subversive graffiti-artist and street poet in the late 1970s. Operating under the pseudonym SAMO, he emblazoned the abandoned walls of the city with his unique blend of enigmatic symbols, icons and aphorisms. A voracious autodidact, by 1980, at 22-years of age, Basquiat began to direct his extraordinary talent towards painting and drawing. His powerful works brilliantly captured the zeitgeist of the 1980s New York underground scene and catapulted Basquiat on a dizzying meteoric ascent to international stardom that would only be put to a halt by his untimely death in 1988.

    Basquiat's iconoclastic oeuvre revolves around the human figure. Exploiting the creative potential of free association and past experience, he created deeply personal, often autobiographical, images by drawing liberally from such disparate fields as urban street culture, music, poetry, Christian iconography, African-American and Aztec cultural histories and a broad range of art historical sources.

    View More Works

4

Untitled

1983
oil stick and ink on paper
29 3/4 x 22 in. (75.6 x 55.9 cm)

Estimate
$80,000 - 120,000 

sold for $257,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

New Now Evening Sale

New York Auction 29 February 2016 6pm