After Jean-Michel Basquiat - Evening & Day Editions London Thursday, September 21, 2023 | Phillips
  • “I was a really lousy artist as a kid. Too abstract expressionist…really messy. I’d never win painting contests. I remember losing to a guy who did a perfect Spider-Man.”
    —Jean-Michel Basquiat

    A striking example from Jean-Michel Basquiat’s celebrated oeuvre, Piano Lesson (1982-87/2022) is a screenprint reproduction of the 1983 canvas of the same title. It depicts longtime comic superheroes Batman and Robin standing opposite each other. Characterised by a vibrant colour palette and an intensely drawn surface, the present lot showcases the two cartoon characters surrounded by the artist’s signature anatomical drawing. Throughout his artistic career, Basquiat frequently combined images from childhood popular culture with his own real and imagined experiences to address sociopolitical issues concerning race, identity and mortality. A remarkable example of the complexity distinctive of Basquiat’s iconic style, Piano Lesson recalls the intensely worked painterly surface of the artist’s 1983 Flash in Naples (lot 161). For instance, the intricate grid that characterises Batman’s suit is repeated in the gridded background present in Flash in Naples, showcasing Basquiat’s multi-layered artistic practise.


    Piano Lesson is part of the Superhero Portfolio – an edition comprising four screenprints of Basquiat’s original canvases featuring the artist’s personal heroes and idols. Taking inspiration from popular comic characters and symbols, Basquiat depicts Batman, Robin, and Flash alongside his iconic gestural marks and text. The series evokes a childlike spontaneity, while simultaneously showcasing a distinct awareness and command over composition. Combining bold colours and expressive brushwork, this portfolio exemplifies the unique style for which Basquiat is famed, while also symbolising the artist’s status as one of the most significant artists of his generation.




    • Provenance

      Private Collection, London


Piano Lesson, from Superhero Portfolio

Screenprint in colours, on Saunders Waterford paper, the full sheet.
S. 102 x 102 cm (40 1/8 x 40 1/8 in.)
Numbered ‘AP 12/20’ in pencil on the front (an artist’s proof, the edition was 85), signed and dated ‘6/22/2022’ by Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux in pencil (the artist's sisters and administrators of the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat) on a stamped Certificate of Authenticity on the reverse, published by Flatiron Editions, New York, framed.

Full Cataloguing

£45,000 - 55,000 

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 21 - 22 September 2023