Forbes: “I think we’re going to see a $100 million Basquiat”


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. So 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)

Jean-Michel Basquiat

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. The Art Gallery of Ontario is about to present a major retrospective of his work in the winter of 2015.

Jim Crow, crayon on wood, 1986

Basquiat & Andy Warhol – Olympic Rings, 1985, from Gagosian Gallery

Bird on Money, acrylic, crayon on canvas, 1981

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

Self Portrait, acrylic & crayon, 1982

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.
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There are 19 comments

  1. Hey we’re not in the Whitney anymore…The MET Breuer is here – gallery gawker nyc

    […] Further, the MET’s notorious ability to secure the most renowned pieces was on display considering their collection opening with Titian’s arguably best piece The Flaying of Marsyas. But my favorite was Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s Piscine Versus the Best Hotels (or Various Loin).  The neo-expressionism piece pulls together an overwhelming exhibition containing art of varied generations. And in a final room full of contemporary pieces that felt like afterthoughts, Piscine Versus the Best Hotels pulls them together with its varied themes. It’s abstract and another take on the 20th century’s expressionism, which originated in Germany and Basquiat is an American with French roots. He’s multi-cultural and uses multiple styles, as well as a graffiti artist whose works now sell for millions. […]

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  2. artgallerygerdah

    How lovely to find Basquias works presented here. I had the chance to visit the exhibition in Paris and another one in Bonn and I am always stunned to see and feel the power, the energy, the freshness and freedom that speeks from the canvas. Really an amazing artist! Thanks for this post! Gerda

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  3. kartrashian

    This artist has the most amazing artworks, it’s impossible for me to choose wich on is my favorite ! great pics 🙂

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  4. anngrafics

    I appreciate this artist, but his life always makes me sad. The Skull image is my favorite of this selection. Interesting conversation above. I have a few artist friends and this thread interests me because I see how poorly they often live, unless they can somehow make it into the star machine, which most of them have no interest in.

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    1. boomerontario

      That star machine is such a powerful force, isn’t it? And you’re right. So few make it into that atmosphere. That’s why I’m such a fan of the co-op, artist run galleries, although that’s not really a solution either. And you’re right about his life. He hit stardom and then that was it.

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      1. M.K. Hajdin (Exiled Star)

        “…you appear to endorse works you dislike and artists that you consider historically irrelevant because the day’s financial news dictates the shape of your narrative.” – Thornton

        This, so this. Thanks for the link.

        The one cool thing about being an unpaid art blogger is that you get to write about whoever you want. So I get to pretend that the art world is full of artists making art that DOESN’T objectify women. It’s a fond illusion that keeps me going.

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