Basquiat Brings $93.1 Million at Christie's; Records Toppled at Sotheby's $596.8 Million Trio of Sales

  • May 12, 2021 15:26

  • Email
Mickalene Thomas, “Racquel Reclining Wearing Purple Jumpsuit"
Detail, Basquiat, “In This Case”

A 1983 painting by Haitian-American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat reached $93.1 million on Tuesday at a Christie’s auction in New York, nearly twice its estimated price.

A ten-minute bidding battle between three phone bidders for “In This Case” began at $40 million, escalated quickly to $50 million (its estimate) and hammered at $81 million, a total of $93.1 million with fees and commissions.

The piece was reportedly consigned by Giancarlo Giammetti, fashion designer and cofounder of Valentino.

The large-scale work featuring a red-grounded skull became the second most expensive work by Basquiat sold at auction, trailing another skull-focused work, “Untitled” (1982), which was sold in May 2017 to Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa for $110 million in a Sotheby’s auction.


A record artist price for Mickalene Thomas was set with “Racquel Reclining Wearing Purple Jumpsuit,” from 2016, which sold for $1.8 million. The Christie's sale totalled $210.5 million on Tuesday evening from 37 lots.

On Wednesday night, Basquiat's "Versus Medici" (1982) at Sotheby’s went to $50,820,000, just hitting its top estimate of $50 million. Top lots from the evening also included Cy Twombly’s Untitled (Rome), 1970, which sold for $41,628,000. 

Bidding battles broke out over Robert Colescott’s George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook, 1975, which achieved $15,201,000, more than 16 times Colescott's previous auction record of $912,500. The buyer was the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, according to the New York Times.  

Monet, "Le Bassin aux nymphéas"

Sotheby's Contemporary Art sale brought a total of $218.3 million.

The same day, a sale of Mrs. John L. Marion's collection totaled $157.2 million, with California artist Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park #40, 1971, setting an artist record at $27,265,500. New auction records were also reached for a work by Kenneth Noland, whose 1958 painting Rocker sold for $4,255,000, and Larry Rivers’s Africa I, 1961–62, which achieved $2,077,000. 

A third Sotheby's sale on Wednesday, the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, brought a total $221.3 million. Le Bassin aux nymphéas, one of Monet’s iconic waterlilies works, achieved $70,353,000 after a heated pursuit by five bidders. The painting now ranks in the top five most expensive works by the artist to be sold at auction.

The live-streamed trio of Sotheby's auctions, held in New York with a sparse audience, brought a total $596.8 million.

  • Email

More News Feed Headlines

Martin Building Exterior.  Photo by Eric Stephenson, Denver Art Museum.

Denver Art Museum Unveils $150 Million Campus Transformation Project, Reimagined Galleries

  • ArtfixDaily / September 8th, 2021

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) reopened its expanded and reimagined campus to the public on October 24, 2021, unveiling ...

Left.  Maurice Estève (1904—2001), Untitled [signed and dated lower right Estève 70].  Watercolor and grease pencil on paper, 50 x 43.5 cm.  Courtesy of Brame & Lorenceau.  Right.  Hei Tiki Maori nephrite pendant, New Zealand, 18th century.  H: 9.5 cm.  Courtesy of Patrick & Ondine Mestdagh.

Fine Arts Paris Returns to Carrousel du Louvre and Online

  • ArtfixDaily / October 26th, 2021

Fine Arts Paris – the Paris-based specialist art fair dedicated to the fine arts from Antiquity to modern times – ...

View of the island of Jersey showing Mont Orgueil, built in the 13th century.

Art Dealer Andy Valmorbida Makes 'Extremely Unusual' Admissions In Alleged Fraud Case, Court Reports

  • The Age / October 25th, 2021

Melbourne-born art dealer Andrew (Andy) Valmorbida, scion of an Italian-imports family dynasty in Australia, ...

Cover, The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, 1963–1965

The Whitney Publishes Second Volume of Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, Transfers Archive to MoMA

  • ArtfixDaily / October 25th, 2021

The Whitney Museum of American Art has announced the publication of the second volume of the catalogue raisonné of ...

Rappaport Lecture

ARTFIXdaily Artwire