The sale of Warrior by Jean-Michel Basquiat poised to become the most valuable western artwork ever offered in Asia
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The sale of Warrior by Jean-Michel Basquiat poised to become the most valuable western artwork ever offered in Asia
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), Warrior, 1982. Acrylic, oilstick and spray paint on wood panel, 72 x 48 in. (183 x 122 cm.). Estimate: HK$240,000,000-320,000,000 / US$31,000,000-41,000,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

HONG KONG.- On 23 March, Christie's will offer Basquiat's landmark work, Warrior (estimated at HK$240,000,000-320,000,000 / US$31,000,000-41,000,000), in a live and livestreamed, single-lot evening sale entitled We Are All Warriors – The Basquiat Auction, to be held in Hong Kong as a key element of Christie’s Spring Season of 20th Century sales. The masterpiece, which represents the pinnacle of Basquiat’s creative output, is poised to become the most expensive Western artwork ever offered in Asia.

Painted in 1982, at the height of his artistic power, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Warrior is a commanding and authoritative portrait that amply demonstrates why the artist is regarded as one of the most important painters of the last half century. The work will be offered in a sale format that highlights Basquiat’s international appeal, uniting collectors from different geographies and time zones. The evening of auctions will reflect the dialogue established between two cultural hubs in the London to Paris sale series in October 2020 and the Hong Kong to New York series in December 2020.

The forthcoming sale will be a milestone for the Western art market in Asia, speaking to Christie’s continued success in the region. The sale of Warrior follows a record-breaking season of 20th/21st Century Art sales in Hong Kong last December, which showcased the strongest offering of Western artworks to date, and set phenomenal prices fuelled by Asian collectors.

Basquiat’s Warrior - An Artwork of Ground-breaking Importance:

• A Masterpiece by the Artist - Warrior is considered one of Basquiat’s finest creations and is part of a series created on panel in 1981-82, including La Hara and Irony of Negro Policeman.

• Finest Period - The work is a masterful example of when Basquiat’s artistic language reached maturity. Created as an absolute statement piece, it showcases his celebrated raw, exuberant energy, which permeates every inch of the composition.

• A Semi-Autobiographic Masterpiece – Basquiat was highly aware of the inequality in the socio-political environment and the absence of representation of black people in art history. Warrior can therefore be interpreted as a semi-autobiographic work.

• Iconic Subject Matter - The work depicts a powerful warrior in full length, wielding his silver sword, barrelling his penetrating eyes directly towards the viewer. The Christ-like, gladiatorial figure is a crucial subject extensively explored by the artist in numerous sketches prior to this work.

• Renowned Provenance - First exhibited at Akira Ikeda Gallery, Tokyo, in 1983, Warrior has been featured in numerous important Basquiat publications and exhibitions around the globe. In particular, it was one of the centrepieces of the 2019 blockbuster exhibition ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat’ at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center in New York City.

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