The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, May 21, 2018

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled, 1981 poised to achieve the highest price for the artist
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), Untitled, 1981. Acrylic, oilstick and spray paint on canvas, 78 x 72in. (199.5 x 182.9cm.). Estimate in the region of $20 million. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012.

NEW YORK, NY.- On 27 June, Christie's Evening Auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art will present a selection of important works including a pivotal painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, created in the seminal year of 1981. Bursting forth from the canvas in a combustive palette of scarlet red, dusky pink, vermillion and fluorescent yellow, Untitled is an intuitive, gestural maelstrom from the very height of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s practice. Undertaken in 1981 and formerly owned by the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Untitled is one of the artist’s earliest masterpieces, marrying the gritty urbanism of his street graffiti with his raw and guttural symbolism. In 2007, Untitled, sold for $14.6 million, breaking the artist’s world auction record at the time, today, the estimate is within the region of $20 million, positioning it to break Basquiat’s record again, which was achieved last May in New York at $16.3 million.

Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, declared: “This outstanding ‘self-portrait' is a tour de force in Basquiat’s short career and was executed before his recognition and success. His rising energy added to the use of a mix of acrylic, oilstick and spray paint which makes the vibrant intensity of the monumental central figure unrivaled. The art market has never been this strong, and the demand for masterpieces like this work is global. We are happy to offer this work in June in London, following the record auction results achieved in New York a few weeks ago.”

The character standing in the center of the monumental composition is part self-portrait, reflecting the artist’s short, close-cropped hair at the time, and part boxing legend, alluding to those mighty African-American champions Sugar Ray Robinson, Cassius Clay and Joe Louis. Sanctified in Basquiat’s pantheon of black sporting stars, the figure is crowned with a halo of scrawled, meandering paint: yellow, black and white like some radiant effigy or sacrificial martyr.

1981 was a remarkable year for Jean-Michel Basquiat, marking his transition from the streets to the studio. At the beginning of the year, Basquiat had been painting on found objects, discarded windows, doors, pieces of wood and metal; the debris of New York City. By the end of the year, he had become an incumbent star in the art world, installed in a spacious studio in the basement of Annina Nosei’s Prince Street gallery and showcased in international exhibitions. These included the New York/New Wave exhibition at P.S.1 curated by Mudd Club founder Diego Cortez, which effectively launched Basquiat’s career, and his first show in Europe at the Galleria Mazzoli, in Modena, Italy. New York had been suffering from economic stagnation and foreclosure; whole swathes of the city were being vacated by white-collar workers and businesses in favour of the suburbs with much of Soho, Tribeca, the Lower East Side and the East Village being abandoned. At the same time popular culture and mainstream art had lost its sense of avant-garde innovation and it is against this background that a new underground creativity began to emerge.

From 1981-1982, Basquiat was becoming increasingly interested in his own identity and genealogy. In particular, he began to focus on those public figures, past and present, which were setting new precedents and changing the fortunes of black and Hispanic people in dominantly white America. Turning to the pantheon of `Famous Negro Athletes’, one of the few professions black people were allowed to excel in, Basquiat made reverential tributes to fighters such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Casius Clay and Joe Louis.

Today's News

June 5, 2012

German artist Gerhard Richter opens largest exhibition at the Pompidou Center in Paris

Getty Museum presents Drama and Devotion: Heemskerck's 'Ecce Homo' Altarpiece from Warsaw

Ellsworth Kelly's drawings of plants, flowers, leaves, spanning 60 years, on view at Metropolitan Museum

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled, 1981 poised to achieve the highest price for the artist

Sotheby's to offer a selection of rare and important furniture and decorative arts of noble provenance

Annual summer display at the Morgan Library to include Noah Webster's dictionary

Jan David Winitz discusses how to look at and to learn about antique oriental rugs

Mystically Nordic: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Finland, and the Modernist Spirit on view at Museum Kunstpalast

Recent paintings and sculptures by Shirazeh Houshiary on view at Lisson Gallery in Milan

Israel Museum's Suzanne Landau appointed Director and Chief Curator at Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Iconic 'napalm girl' photo taken by the Associated Press' Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut turns 40

Only known document signed by Lewis and Clark in private hands may fetch $100,000+ at Heritage

Legendary art dealer and collector Michael Werner makes major gift of 130 works to Paris

Exhibition of the work by Jeremy Deller opens at Wiels Centre for Contemporary Art

Works by renowned contemporary native artists at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York

David Jablonowski opens his first solo exhibition at Galerie Fons Welters in Amsterdam

Rubin Museum of Art announces new leadership appointments

Opening season at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia generates record-breaking attendance figures

Amistad Center for Art & Culture highlights collection and commemorates African American culture

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful