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Baquiat’s ‘Untitled’ Sells for Record $110.5 Million

  • VOA News

A Sotheby's official speaks about "Untitled," a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat during a media preview at Sotheby's in New York, May 5, 2017. The work sold for $110.5 million Thursday in New York, setting a new auction record for the US artist in So

Nearly 30 years after his death, the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is breaking records.

Basquiat’s “Untitled” canvas was sold Thursday at Sotheby’s for $110.5 million. The auction house said the price tag was a record for the artist and also set a record price for an American artist at auction.

Japanese billionaire Yosaku Maezawa, who bought the artwork in a 10-minute bidding war, said he plans to loan the Basquiat to museums and exhibitions before it is housed in a museum in Maezawa’s hometown of Chiba, Japan.

FILE - Yusaku Maezawa, chief executive of online fashion retailer Start Today Co, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the company headquarters in Chiba, March 27, 2012.
FILE - Yusaku Maezawa, chief executive of online fashion retailer Start Today Co, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the company headquarters in Chiba, March 27, 2012.


“I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me, and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations,” Maezawa said.

The “Untitled” multimillion-dollar masterpiece depicts a skulllike head and was created with oil-stick, acrylic and spray paint on a giant canvas.

It had been part of a private collection since 1984 when it was sold for just $19,000.

“I’ve never seen so much emotions in such a painting,” said Gregorie Billault, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art. “He’s bringing something never seen before.”

Another Basquiat work, also labeled “Untitled,” sold last year of $57.3 million. Maezawa also purchased that piece.

Basquiat, who was black, was born in Brooklyn to a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother.

He died in 1988 from a drug overdose at the age of 27.

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