Basquiat Brings Record-Smashing $110.5 Million

Detail of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled, 1982
Detail of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled, 1982

Achieving a record-shattering $110.5 million, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled, 1982, led Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening sale on May 18. The price is the highest paid at auction for a work by an American artist and for any artwork created after 1980.

Japanese e-commerce tycoon Yusaku Maezawa was the buyer. He said in a statement that he plans to loan the work to institutions.

The Basquiat beat out the previous record for an American artist of $105 million paid in 2013 for Andy Warhol's "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)."

It was Basquiat's night, with five of the artist's works realising a combined $129.3 million. Kicking off the sale was Jonas Wood’s Black Still Life, which brought $1.2 million – wildly exceeding its $250,000 low estimate. Energetic bidding ensued, with with Roy Lichtenstein’s Nude Sunbathing bringing in $24 million and Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild reaching $15.4 million. Other star lots included Cy Twombly’s Silex Scintillans ($8.3 million) and Agnes Martin’s Untitled #13 ($8.1 million), both exceeding their high estimates.


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