Nearly 30 years after his death, the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is breaking records.
Basquiat’s “Untitled” canvas was sold Thursday at Sotheby’s for $110.5 million. The auction house said the price tag was a record for the artist and also set a record price for an American artist at auction.
Japanese billionaire Yosaku Maezawa, who bought the artwork in a 10-minute bidding war, said he plans to loan the Basquiat to museums and exhibitions before it is housed in a museum in Maezawa’s hometown of Chiba, Japan.
“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.
The “Untitled” multimillion-dollar masterpiece depicts a skulllike head and was created with oil-stick, acrylic and spray paint on a giant canvas.
It had been part of a private collection since 1984 when it was sold for just $19,000.
“I’ve never seen so much emotions in such a painting,” said Gregorie Billault, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art. “He’s bringing something never seen before.”
Another Basquiat work, also labeled “Untitled,” sold last year of $57.3 million. Maezawa also purchased that piece.
Basquiat, who was black, was born in Brooklyn to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother.
He died in 1988 from a drug overdose at the age of 27.