Basquiat painting fetches record $110.5M at New York auction

Jean-Michel Basquiat's untitled painting of a skull is displayed behind an official with Sotheby's which offered the media a preview earlier this month. On Thursday the work sold for $110.5 million — the highest sum ever paid at auction for

Last year, he became the highest-grossing American artist at auction, generating US$171.5 million from 80 works, according to Artprice, and his auction high has increased at least tenfold in the last 15 years.

Jean-Michel Basquiat joined "joined the pantheon of great, great artists" Thursday night, when the late painter's 1982 work Untitled sold for a record-breaking $110.5 million at auction - the highest sum ever paid at auction for a US -produced artwork.

Basquiat's vibrant, untitled 1982 portrait achieved the sixth-highest price for any work of art at auction, bearing testament to the eagerness of deep-pocketed collectors to spend freely on trophy pieces.

In addition to films, books and exhibits, the 28-year-old's paintings have sold for millions.

"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", Maezawa said in a statement.

Sotheby's announced that the painting will be housed eventually in a museum based in Maezawa's hometown of Chiba, Japan.

"It's mind-blowing", Larry Warsh, a longtime Basquiat collector, told the Times.

Bidding at the iconic Sotheby's auction house lasted 10 mins, with Maezawa winning it over the phone.

Art dealer Jeffrey Deitch was happily stunned with the results of the auction, telling Bloomberg News, "I remember astounding the art world back in 1980s when I set an auction record for Basquiat at $99,000". It last sold in 1984 for $19,000, and had a pre-sale estimate of $60 million.

"When I saw this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art", said Maezawa.

The untitled work has also become the most expensive by any USA artist. "I want to share that experience with as many people as possible", wrote the billionaire on Instagram.

The painting was bought by Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa.

Basquiat, born in Brooklyn to Haitian and Puerto Rican parents, died in 1988 of an overdose aged just 27 after a fleeting eight-year career.



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