Jean-Michel Basquiat - New Now Day Sale New York Sunday, February 28, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Vrej Baghoomian, Inc., New York (acquired directly from the artist)
    Sotheby's, New York, November 14, 1991, lot 251
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s works address a series of socio-political themes ranging from racial inequality to consumer culture. A self-taught artist born in Brooklyn to an American Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother, Basquiat’s career was tragically short but incredibly prolific. He possessed both self-awareness and an acute comprehension of the social and cultural environment in which he lived - a knowledge he explored iconographically in his oeuvre. Repeatedly, his art investigates subjects such as music, anatomy, sports, comics, work, money, and history— both the history of African Americans and the history of art. The artist’s open and unstructured presentation of reality is marked by irony and displacement.

    The present work reveals an astonishing mastery of line. Here one sees Basquait's hieroglyphics dancing across the paper, with a humorously copyrighted figure at the center inscribed "Detail of Stonehenge." The mix of text and figures suggest an abbreviated course in Western History. Drawing was an essential element to his practice, and he produced over a thousand works on paper during his short career. The artist drew little distinction between painting and drawing, as themes, motifs, iconographies easily translated from one medium to the other. In the act of drawing, Basquiat discovered his ideal form of visual expression - one that was compatible with one of his biggest interests - his inherent appreciation of naïve, childlike figures, cartoons, scribblings, cryptic signs, and letter printing.

  • 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. 

    View More Works



oilstick on paper
30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm)
Signed and dated "Jean-Michel Basquiat 87" on the reverse.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $93,750

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

New Now Day Sale

New York Auction 29 February 2016 11am