Jean-Michel Basquiat - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg

  • Catalogue Essay

    As a self-taught artist his style was rooted in graffiti street art and became known for its raw look and striking pictorial energy. Drawing inspiration from the rugged streets of New York as well as from his multicultural background and surroundings, Jean-Michel Basquiat used his work as a vehicle of exploration. Depicting subjects such as his obsessions with morality, class struggle, oppression and popular culture, his work would become a visual metaphor and a surface upon which he could articulate his interests. Creating his own particular language – if through symbolism, characters or colour, Basquiat’s paintings have retained their visual strength and their unique iconographical power, continuously enticing us as viewers into the mysterious world of Basquiat the artist, whilst simultaneously into the his private world, in which he translates personal experiences and interests into electrically-charged, symbolic compositions.

  • 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.

    View More Works



Acrylic on canvas.
127 x 102 cm. (50 x 40 1/8 in).
Signed and dated ‘JMB 1988’ on the reverse.

£200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for £216,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

28 Feb 2008, 7pm