Jean-Michel Basquiat - AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN New York Friday, February 8, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, New York
    Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, New York

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Gagosian Gallery, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Paintings, 1982
    Malmo, Rooseum, Jean-Michel Basquiat/Julian Schnabel, April 8 - May 28, 1989, no. 29, p. 51 (illustrated)
    Turin, Palazzo Bricherasio, Pittura Dura. Dal Graffitismo alla Street Art, November 24, 1999 - January 20, 2000
    Lugano, Museo d'Arte Moderna della Citta Lugano, Jean-Michel Basquiat, March 20 - July 19, 2005, no. 18, pp. 45 and 159 (illustrated)
    Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario; Bilbao, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now's The Time, February 7 - November 1, 2015, p. 82 (illustrated)
    Milan, Museo delle Culture, Jean-Michel Basquiat, October 28, 2016 - February 26, 2017, pp. 70 - 71 (illustrated)
    Rome, Chiostro del Bramante, Jean-Michel Basquiat: New York City, March 24 - July 20, 2017, pp. 52 - 53 (illustrated)
    Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte, Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Obras da Colecao Mugrabi, January 25 - September 26, 2018, p. 59 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    Jean-Michel Basquiat, exh. cat. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1992, p. 240 (illustrated)
    Richard D. Marshall and Jean-Louis Pratt, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Vol. II, Paris, 1996, no. 7, p. 70 (illustrated)
    Richard D. Marshall and Jean-Louis Pratt, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 3rd. Ed., Vol. II, no. 7, p. 114 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born 1960, Brooklyn, NY
    Died 1988, New York, NY

    Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Barbican Art Gallery, London; Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Fondazione La Triennale di Milano, Milan; Serpentine Gallery, London
    Selected public collections: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Broad Museum, Los Angeles; Menil Collection, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CT; Daros Collection, Zurich; Musee du Luxembourg, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

    Though Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artistic career was short-lived, he has without a doubt become one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. A voracious autodidact, Basquiat had taught himself to draw from early childhood – creating drawings equally inspired by television cartoons and comic books, as well as by the anatomical textbook Gray’s Anatomy and the objects he encountered during his frequent visits to the Brooklyn and other New York museums. He first gained notoriety in the late 1970s for the conceptually and politically charged graffiti works he emblazoned around downtown Manhattan collaboratively with his friend Al Diaz under the “tag” SAMO©. Contrary to common misconception, as Dieter Buchhart has pointed out in the Barbican’s Jean-Michel Basquiat: Boom For Real exhibition catalog, Basquiat was not a graffiti or street artist. Though he had embraced the vernacular in the late 1970s, it was only one aspect within his larger multi-disciplinary agenda that would fuse the disparate fields of street vernacular, popular culture, music, poetry, world history, and art historical sources into one explosive language. 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 burst onto the art scene in New York at merely 20 years of age, following his inclusion in the watershed Times Square Show in June 1980 and the New York/New Wave exhibition at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City in February 1981. It was notably “the observable relationship of his drawing to past art” that made Basquiat stand out for poet and art critic Rene Ricard, who proclaimed about Basquiat in Artforum in 1981, “The elegance of Twombly is there but from the same source (graffiti) and so is the brut of the young Dubuffet.” Having garnered the attention of art dealers Emilio Mazzoli, Bruno Bischofberger and Annina Nosei, Basquiat received his first solo show at the Galleria d’Arte Emilio Mazzoli in Modena in May 1981 and in November was included in the watershed Public Address show at Annina Nosei’s Soho gallery – the extreme success of it famously leading Basquiat to tell his father, as the anecdote goes, “Papa, I’ve made it”. In January 1982, Basquiat made the pivotal decision to move his studio from the basement of Annina Nosei's gallery to a large Soho loft where he feverishly worked in preparation for his line-up of solo exhibitions in the spring of that year at Annina Nosei Gallery and Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles. In summer 1982, Basquiat was included in Documenta 7, Kassel, as the youngest artist ever to be selected. At merely 25 years of age, he exhibited works alongside such established artists as Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol, the latter of whom he would meet a few months later and become close friend and collaborators with.

    In May 2018, Basquiat’s Untitled, 1982, achieved $110.5 million at auction, making it the most expensive work to be sold by an American artist. “Here he is, blazing a trail not only in terms of the market but also in terms of how his work is perceived more widely,” said the artist Adam Pendleton. “It speaks to the broader elements of American culture. And what a powerful moment to have that happen.”

  • 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 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.

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signed and dated "Jean-Michel Basquiat 82" on the reverse
acrylic, colored oil stick and pastel on canvas
72 x 48 in. (182.9 x 121.9 cm.)
Executed in 1982.

Estimate On Request


New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019