Painting Made by 21-Year-Old in 1982 Sells for $110.5M

Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece busts auction records
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2017 1:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – An artwork created by a 21-year-old American in 1982 broke several records at an auction in New York City Thursday night—including most expensive work by a US artist. Jean-Michel Basquiat's untitled painting of a skull sold for $110.5 million to Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, who set the earlier record for a Basquiat painting last year when he bought a painting of a devil for $57.3 million, the BBC reports. Only 10 other paintings have ever sold for more than $100 million, and the sale also set records for most expensive work by a black artist and by any artist after 1980.

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Maezawa says the powerful painting had been unseen for more than 30 years and he now wants to lend it to institutions around the world. Basquiat, a Brooklyn native who died from a heroin overdose at the age of 27, was a former graffiti artist mentored by Andy Warhol, whose Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) (in 2 Parts) had held the previous record for most expensive American painting. Basquiat is "now in the same league as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso," art dealer Jeffrey Deitch tells the New York Times. (Read more Jean-Michel Basquiat stories.)

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