Jean-Michel Basquiat - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Jean Michel Basquiat’s works can sometimes resemble artistic enigmas that leave the viewer attempting to interpret their meanings and decode the hieroglyphs of drawings, symbols, words, and pop culture references that fll each composition. The present lot, Untitled (It’s All The Same), circa 1984-1985, from the final years of Basquiat’s short, but prolifc career, demonstrates the sparseness of his later works. A unique element of the work is the words Basquiat incorporates into the drawing, inspired by fragments of his life and the many sources that infuenced him, from books to media to conversation. Basquiat used his traditional copyright symbol next to certain phrases, a hallmark of his since his days as graffti artist SAMO.

    The piece retains Basquiat’s deliberate, yet childlike drawing style. He used oilstick and pencil to mark the paper, intentionally creating the piece quickly. He held on to the way children draw with purpose when they frst pick up a pencil and stayed true to that notion. The work has elements that resemble an anatomy drawing, demonstrating Basquiat’s fascination with Da Vinci’s anatomical drawings and Gray’s Anatomy, which he read at a young age. The pared down nature of the present lot is a departure
    from his more colorful, busy works, but still displays his innate talent for composition and ability to captivate viewers. During his last years, he transitioned into more serious works, like this one, which appear more subdued and refect his personal experience and changing outlook on life at the time.

  • Artist Biography

    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 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. 

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Untitled (It's All The Same)

circa 1984-1985
oilstick and pencil on paper
29 1/2 x 33 in. (74.9 x 83.8 cm)
Inscribed “IT’S ALL THE SAME©” center.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $218,500

Contemporary Art Day Sale

16 November 2012
New York