Jean-Michel Basquiat Painting Breaks Art Auction Records With $110.5 Million Sale

This painting just sold for $110.5 million

Sotheby's said the sale of Untitled in Manhattan was an auction record for the artist.

Thursday night, a painting done by the late artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1982, sold for an incredible record $110.5 million at Sotheby's auction of contemporary art.

"Untitled", a 72 1/8-inch by 68 1/8-inch acrylic, spray paint and oilstick on canvas work, had initially been estimated to go for at least $60 million, but the NY Times accurately predicted before the auction that "given the current global appetite for his work, that figure could go higher in a bidding war". A tense bidding war lasted for around 10 minutes between a client in Sotheby's NY showroom and another on the telephone, with the telephone buyer ultimately clinching the top bid. "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".

It was Mr Maezawa, 41, the founder of Contemporary Art Foundation, who a year ago set the previous auction high for Basquiat, paying US$57.3 million for the artist's large 1982 painting of a horned devil at Christie's.

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On purchasing the Basquiat, Maezawa said in a statement provided by Sotheby's: "When I saw 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", wrote the billionaire on Instagram.

The enigmatic Basquiat died of a heroin overdose in 1988, aged just 27. His art captured the imagination of many artists, gallery owners and musicians in New York City.

Sotheby's announced that the painting will be housed eventually in a museum based in Maezawa's hometown of Chiba, Japan. The younger daughter, Lise, raised nearly as much by selling just one painting - the Basquiat - at Sotheby's.

Roy Lichtenstein's "Nude Sunbathing" fetched $24 million, while Gerhard Richter's "Abstraktes Bild" went for $15.4million. His "The Women of Algiers (Version 0)" fetched $179.4 million at Christie's in NY in 2015.

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