Jean-Michel Basquiat - 80s New York Friday, December 17, 2010 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    Drawing was an essential element in the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The artist made no hierarchical distinction between drawing and painting, and in fact, his paintings and drawings are often indistinguishable, and only differ in their paper or canvas support. Basquiat drew on paper, canvas, and wood with graphite, oilstick, watercolor and acrylic. He did it with a confident and sophisticated hand, rapidly and spontaneously, and corrected or revised instantaneously and visibly. Drawing was a constant activity for the artist, and during his relatively short career he produced probably a few thousand works on paper. Although Basquiat never made drawings that were specific studies for works on canvas, the same images, words, and phrases occur in both forms of expression. A drawing would be physically attached to a canvas or an element from a drawing would be transferred to a painting. For Basquiat, the drawings nourished the paintings, and the paintings evolved into drawings in a circular and replenishing cycle. It seems that Basquiat drawings happened, as opposed to being done. The richness and variety of the artist’s drawings is phenomenal, their inherent knowledge and information is expansive, and their themes are subjects are majestic. Basquiat’s stated topics of <> are omnipresent in all of his graphic expressions and help extend our understanding of his valuable message.
    (Richard D. Marshall quoted in E. Navarro, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Works on Paper, Paris 1999, p. 30)

  • 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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Six works: i) Untitled (Standing figure with dog); ii) Untitled (Kneeling Figure); iii) Untitled (Head and Torso); iv) Untitled (Mira PaYa); v) Untitled (Reclining figure); vi) Untitled (Standing Figure)

Each graphite on paper.
i) 24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm); ii) 24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm); iii) 18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm); iv) 18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm); v) 18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm); vi) 18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm).
ii) Signed "Jean-Michel Basquiat" lower left; v) Signed and dated "Jean-Michel Basquiat 81" lower left. Each work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed and dated by the executor, Gerard Basquiat

$150,000 - 250,000 


17 December 2010
New York