This Basquiat Painting Just Sold For $49 Million.

It’s now the eighth most expensive Basquiat work sold at auction.

By Angelica Villa 22/06/2021

A work by Jean-Michel Basquiat featured behind the artist on the 1985 cover of The New York Times Magazine—a story that confirmed the artist’s stardom—sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for HKD 289 million (approx. $49 million) with buyer’s premium on Thursday. The untitled triptych is now the eighth most expensive Basquiat work sold at auction.

The triptych painting, which depicts two figures—one painted fully black with teeth and intestines exposed and another riding what appears to be a donkey—sold during a live-streamed evening sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong curated by Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou. Chou appeared on ARTnews’s list of 50 collectors under 50 to watch.

Just two phone bidders from Hong Kong competed for the work, which was sold with an irrevocable bid. It went to a buyer on the phone with Sotheby’s Asia chairman Nicholas Chow. The work hammered at HKD 250 million ($42.7 million), below its HKD 255 million ($43.6 million) low estimate, amid a silent auction room.

Despite the work’s visibility in an important milestone in the artist’s career, it failed to generate the bidding drama many top Basquiat lots typically do at auction. Some reasons for that may lie in the fact that the untitled work is without the signature features many collectors look for in Basquiat’s works: images of skulls, the artist’s distinctive crown image, the coded words or scrawls. The work also falls far from the coveted year, 1982.

The anonymous seller of the work purchased it from an American collector at an unknown date. The previous owner purchased it at Christie’s London in 2005 for just £1 million.

The sale comes after a series of strong prices achieved for Basquiat’s work, including the $123 million paid last month for one of the artist’s “Skull” paintings sold by Valentino co-founder Giancarlo Giammetti and the $66 million Versus Medici (1982) sold at Sotheby’s in New York this May. Thursday’s result is just behind the $55 million paid for Warrior (1982) sold during Christie’s single-lot sale in Hong Kong in March from the collection of German-American real estate mogul Aby Rosen.

This article was originally published on ArtNews.


Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Art And Personal Mementos Head To Auction

The Potomack Company is selling items from the late Supreme Court justice’s DC apartment, including a Picasso engraving, a medal and more.

By Bryan Hood


This Warhol Painting Could Fetch a Record-Shattering $270 Million

The sale of ‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’ could nearly double Warhol’s current record.

By Angelica Villa


Russian-Owned Auction House Phillips Condemns Ukraine Invasion

And says sanctions won’t affect business.

By Angelica Villa


Dubai’s New ‘Museum Of The Future’ Opens

The seven-storey building holds six exhibition spaces, a 420-seat auditorium and more.

By Demetrius Simms


How Advisers Navigate Today’s Evolving Art Market

As the art world booms, a new sector of art advisers booms with it.

By Julie Belcove


Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected