NEW YORK (EON) – An untitled painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat was bought Thursday $ 110.5 million by a Japanese collector at auction organized by Sotheby’s in New York, a record for the New York painter.
This large painting (1,83 m by 1,73 m) which represents a disturbing black head on a blue background was awarded after more than 10 minutes of auction, a very unusual duration.
The previous record was in May 2016. Another gigantic (2.38 by 5 m) untitled chart reached $ 57.2 million at a Christie’s auction.
Shortly after the sale, Sotheby’s announced that the buyer was the same as the one who established the previous record, the Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa, now owner of the two most expensive paintings of Basquiat.
The billionaire, who made a fortune in the online clothing trade, spent $ 97.8 million on seven works at the 2016 spring auction, including $ 57.2 million for Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting.
Yusaku Maezawa, 41, announced on Thursday in a statement that he planned to present Basquiat’s record picture in the future museum he plans to install in Chiba, his hometown, and of which he will be “the room Central. ”
The collector also explained that while waiting for the opening of the museum, he would accept to lend the canvas to museums in the world.
“I hope this will give as much joy to others as to myself, that this masterpiece will inspire our future generations,” he said.
$ 19,000 in 1984
On Thursday, the starting price was set at $ 57 million, almost the record for Basquiat, who became known as SAMO by tagging on the walls of New York.
The auction was quickly summed up in a duel between a buyer in the room and another who followed the sale by telephone.
The first went up to $ 97 million, finally letting the second win with an offer at $ 98 million, plus fees and commissions.
The hammer blow marking the end of the auction was greeted by the clamor of the audience present, as well as by admiring whistles.
The canvas had not been offered for sale, nor presented in public, since its sale in 1984 by Christie’s.
The buyer of the time, an anonymous collector, had disbursed only 19 000 dollars for this work dating from 1982.
“It was a summit for Jean-Michel in late 1981 and early 1982. During those six months he was completely in the area. Everything he touched was fantastic, “explained Grégoire Billault, head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s in New York.
For him, “it’s probably one of the three or four best paintings of the artist.”
The sale on Thursday brings a new proof, if need be, that almost 30 years after his death from an overdose at 27 years, Basquiat reigns today on contemporary art.
Never before has such a recent achievement achieved such a price.
A new generation of buyers snatched the Brooklyn native and now has his place in many of the world’s leading museums.
“The art market is also a story of taste,” explained Mr. Billault. “What was very desired by your parents’ generation is not going to be what you desire.”
Thursday night was the last major auction of the Spring Auctions in New York, which showed that the art market was doing well, even though it was not feverish like in 2015.
“Art is extraordinarily alive,” commented Oliver Barker, president of Sotheby’s Europe, who led the sale on Thursday.