Jean-Michel Basquiat - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Phillips

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  • It was in 1968, at the age of seven years old, that Basquiat first came in contact with the medical world. The young Basquiat was playing softball on his street in Brooklyn when he was hit by a car, resulting in a broken arm and various internal injuries. During his recuperation time in the hospital, his mother gave him a copy of the medical text Gray’s Anatomy, which he pored over and memorized. Filled with detailed anatomical drawings and diagrams, the book had a profound influence on the burgeoning artist who, throughout his oeuvre and particularly in his drawings and prints, has compulsively detailed fragments of the human body. His fascination with the anatomical realm was crystallised most compellingly in his first experimentation with printmaking, embodied by his two series Anatomy, 1982 and Untitled (from Leonardo), 1983.


    Leonardo da Vinci, The Vertebral Column (verso), a folio from 'Anatomical Manuscript A', c.1510-11, Royal Collection Trust. Image: Gravure Francaise / Alamy Stock Photo


    • Provenance

      Annina Nosei Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1982

    • Literature

      Dieter Buchart, Jean-Michel Basquiat - Now's The Time, The Art Gallery of Ontario and Delmonico Books, 2015, pp. 200-201
      Ars Publicata, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1982.02 [9]

    • 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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Property from a Private Collection


Lot offered with No Reserve

Ligaments of the Elbow, Etc., from Anatomy

Screenprint in black, on Arches paper, the full sheet.
S. 30 x 22 1/4 in. (76.2 x 56.5 cm)
From the edition of 18 (there were also 7 artist's proofs in Roman numerals), published by Annina Nosei Gallery, New York, unframed.

Full Cataloguing

$6,000 - 8,000 

Sold for $13,970

Contact Specialist
212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023