Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Untitled, 1982’ Sells for $85 Million

jean-michel-basquiat-untitled-1982
Image: courtesy of Phillips.

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s iconic large-scale painting Untitled, 1982, sold for $85 million at Phillips auction house in New York City, Barrons reported. The winning bid, $75 million, before fees was placed over the phone by a collector from Taipei and it was the third-highest price paid for a Basquiat work, 

In total, the evening sale of 20th-century and contemporary art grossed $225 million, a new record for the Phillips auction house. The sale was 100% sold by lot and value, with 70% of works going for prices above their high estimates,” according to Stephen Brooks, CEO of the auction house.

One of the Basquiat’s largest canvases, the 8-by-16-foot features a large head with devil horns against a bright-colored background. The painting features “one of Basquiat’s trademark African-style masks floating in front of an abstracted, drip-painted background, was one of the artist’s most monumental paintings.”

Andrew Terner, a private dealer and collector who lent a painting to a 2019 exhibition, Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: The Untold Story, at the Guggenheim in New York explained the appeal of Basquiat’s work almost 40 years later.

“Basquiat connotes cool kids, misfits, the unhinged genius,” Terner said. “Basquiat is not just an artist; for a lot of the people out there, he’s a religion.”

One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Basquiat was a prominent figure on the New York art and club scenes from the late 1970s until 1988, when he tragically passed away from an overdose at the age of 27. His iconoclastic art critiqued social power structures of the day and his artistic influence still reverberates in pop culture today.

In his brief but brilliant, eight-year career, Basquiat created more than 600 paintings and 1,500 drawings.

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