Forbes has set the art world talking with the provocative prediction that a work by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat will eventually fetch $100 million. I have no idea. But this is a great time to look at the irrepressible artist who began in the punk graffiti scene as SAMO, collaborated with Andy Warhol and entered the celebrity stratosphere. He died at 27 of a heroin overdose in 1988 after 1,000 paintings & 2,000 drawings. (Above: Aboriginal)
His works pronounced on social themes from integration to poverty, using what is sometimes called street-naif style. It blends text and image – poetry, drawing, painting, social commentary – in vivid imagery laced with passion.
Jim Crow, crayon on wood, 1986
Basquiat & Andy Warhol – Olympic Rings, 1985, from Gagosian Gallery
Eroica II, acrylic, pencil, crayon on linen, 1988
Black Tar & Feathers, acrylic, crayon and spray paint, 1982.
Installation view of Basquiat exhibition at the Musée d’Art moderne de Paris
Skull, acrylic & crayon, 1981. Basquiat was a precocious child, and at the age of 7, his mother gave him a copy of Gray’s Anatomy, which he later used as a reference for his masterful and deconstructed figures. -Wiki Paintings
Piscine versus The Best Hotels, collage, crayon on canvas, 1982
Dos Cabezas, acrylic & crayon on canvas, 1982. Just to show the power of Basquiat, take a look at this provenance tract for the Dos Cabezas work, from Christie’s. This is the historic painting that resulted from Basquiat’s first meeting with his idol, Andy Warhol. Basquiat painted Dos Cabezas, a double portrait showing Warhol next to Basquiat, within only hours of meeting the king of pop art and had it delivered, still wet.
Basquiat estate website, here.
Excellent Wiki Paintings site, here.
- All images from Wiki Paintings, unless otherwise noted in the cutline. Click on an image to go to a detailed view.