Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled 1982 Painting Sells for $110.5 Million

Posted on June 11, 2017

Untitled painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled painting from 1982 sold for $110.5 million at a Sotheby's auction. That amount is the first painting to sell for over $100 million at an auction by an American artist. The painting, which depicts a skull, was purchased by a Japanese billionaire. Basquiat's artwork has been mentioned by Jay-Z and his art has sold for millions in the past.

Basquiat died from a herion overdose at age 27 in 1988. He did find success before his death but demand for his paintings has excelled recently.

Sotheby's notes that Basquiat was virtually unknown when the record selling painting was completed. It was create using oilstick, acrylic, and spraypaint. Sotheby's says, "Intricate layers of forcefully applied and impastoed oilstick, acrylic, and spraypaint in a spectrum of electric color coalesce in an intensely worked, rich surface that exemplifies Basquiat’s singular command as a master colorist and draftsman. Exploding in a torrent of irrepressible gestural energy that reflects Basquiat's early beginnings in graffiti, the painting further inaugurated the beginnings of a new mode of figurative painting that took hold of the New York art world in downtown Manhattan in the early 1980s."

Sotheby's estimated before the auction that it would fetch over $60 million. It sold for nearly twice that amount.

Image: Sotheby's