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, Flash in Naples (1982-87/2022) is a screenprint reproduction of the 1983 canvas of the same title that depicts Flash – a comic superhero from the 1960s and 1970s. Characterised by a vibrant colour palette and intensely gestural mark-making, the present lot showcases Basquiat’s appropriation of popular culture and the human body to address sociopolitical issues concerning race, identity and mortality. A dynamic mix of chaos and composition, Flash in Naples exhibits significant energy and movement through its intensely dynamic surface. For instance, the grid behind the running Flash on the left has been stretched to convey speed, while the exaggerated bodily features of the right Flash are reinforced by the larger gridded background that pushes the figure to the forefront of the work. Additionally, in the upper-right hand corner of the print, the word “emblem” has been inscribed and then scratched over. An intentional device typical of the artist’s work, Basquiat explained: “I cross out words so you will see them more: the fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them.”


    Flash in Naples 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


Flash in Naples, 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 

Sold for £57,150

Contact Specialist
+44 20 7318 4024

Rebecca Tooby-Desmond
Specialist, Head of Sale, Editions

Robert Kennan
Head of Editions, Europe

Anne Schneider-Wilson
Senior International Specialist, Editions

Louisa Earl
Associate Specialist, Editions

Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 21 - 22 September 2023