Jean-Michel Basquiat sold his 1982 painting of a skull at auction. “Untitled” brought $110.5 million at Sotheby’s, to become the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction.
During the sale, at least four bidders sailed past the $60 million level. It was definitely a thrilling moment at Sotheby’s postwar and contemporary auction.
Highest bidder turned out to be a Japanese billionaire in the name of Yusaku Maezawa. He revealed himself to be the buyer of the masterpiece through a post on Instagram.
I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece. When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible. バスキア落札しました。アートを好きになってよかった。このペインティングをはじめて見た時、心からそう思いました。みなさんにも見てもらえる機会を作れたらいいなと思っています。 #jeanmichelbasquiat #basquiat #バスキア #ありがとう @sothebys
Mr. Maezawa set the previous auction high for Basquiat just last year paying $57.3 million for the artist’s large 1982 painting of a horned devil at Christie’s.
He then confided to Sotheby’s the reason why he spent such a huge amount for the artwork. He has planned to open a museum in his hometown, Chiba, Japan.
“But before then I wish to loan this piece — which has been unseen by the public for more than 30 years — to institutions and exhibitions around the world,”
He said in a statement.
“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.”
This will go down in history!
Meanwhile, Basquiat’s million-dollar painting set several records: for a work by an American artist, for a work by an African-American artist and as the first work created since 1980 to make over $100 million.
“It’s a really historical moment. It does cement this artist once again,”
Said Larry Warsh, a longtime Basquiat collector.