Basquiat sells for $110m in artist's auction record

Sothebys (NYSE:BID) saw a painting sell for $110.5 million on Thursday, May 18, 2017. The billionaire also set the previous record price for a Basquiat painting, shelling out $57.3 million for a piece at a Christie's auction a year ago.

In the meantime, the artist's vibrant painting of a face in the shape of a skull set several records on Thursday night: for a work by any American artist, for a work by a black artist and as the first work created since 1980 to make more than US$100 million.

"I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece", he...

"I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me, and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations", Maezawa said. "I want to share that experience with as many people as possible", wrote the billionaire on Instagram. Maezawa previously purchased another untitled painting by Basquiat for $57.3 million, the BBC reports. During bidding, the auctioneer offered occasional moments of levity and encouragement. He died of a drug overdose in 1987 at the age of 27. It was originally bought by her mother and father for $19,000 in 1984, reports Bloomberg. This work sold for $24 million at auction. He plans to display it in his museum in Chiba, Japan after loaning it to institutions and exhibitions around the world. Four other Basquiat pieces sold at the auction for a combined $20 million.

The subject of much of Basquiat's work - ordeals endured by blacks in America - is finding renewed resonance in the wake of nationwide United States protests since 2014 about the shootings of unarmed black men by police.

The image of the famous scull painting has been used by Basquiat's estate in the past, but to actually own it is another level of fandom.

The elder daughter, Pamela, consigned 107 works to Christie's, which has sold about 50 lots for $125 million so far this week. "I think it just speaks about the talent of this guy", said Gregoire Billault, Sotheby's head of contemporary art.

  • Salvatore Jensen