If you happen to have a piece from American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, now might be the time to sell – if Sotheby’s latest auction is anything to go by at any rate…
About a year ago the world famous auctioneer achieved a record $57.2 million for the artist with their sale of a massive untitled work from 1982. This new lot, another untitled piece from 1982 is set to go even further in solidifying Basquiat as one of the most sought after artists of the 20th century.
It was last auctioned just two years after its creation in 1984 for what seems now like a paltry sum of $19,000 and after years in a private collection it’s finally up for sale headlining Sotheby’s May 18 Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York. Needless to say the estimate has gone up considerably – all the way to $60 million.
The secret to what makes this painting so important isn’t just the innate value of Basquiat, but the exact time it was painted. A lot can change in a year, and the artist’s work altered considerably between 1981 and 1982. This particular piece was finished in January of 1982, making it an important transitional work.
That single fact means that, even if it’s a good deal smaller than the previous record holder, this Basquiat is set for such a high estimate. Then there’s the fact that it’s a flawless representation of the artist’s work as a whole. It has all the intensity you want from a Basquiat, along with the single figure, text and chaotic nature he’s known for.
The market may be continually strong for the artist – who himself died of an overdose in 1988 – but this is arguably the single most important work to find its way to auction since his renaissance in the contemporary art world. Anyone that can place a serious bid may well be able to claim a piece of artistic history.
For more information: www.sothebys.com