Signed “Jean-Michel Basquiat” on the reverse
Tempera and oilstick on paper
40 x 32 in. (101.6 x 81.3 cm)
Executed in 1982, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Authentication Committee of the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York
Patricia Faure Gallery, Santa Monica
Christie’s, New York, May 20, 1999, lot 187
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
American, 1960 – 1988
One of the most famous American artists of all time, Jean-Michel Basquiat first gained notoriety as a subversive graffiti-artist and street poet in the late 1970s. Operating under the pseudonym SAMO, he emblazoned the abandoned walls of the city with his unique blend of enigmatic symbols, icons and aphorisms. A voracious autodidact, by 1980, at 22-years of age, Basquiat began to direct his extraordinary talent towards painting and drawing. His powerful works brilliantly captured the zeitgeist of the 1980s New York underground scene and catapulted Basquiat on a dizzying meteoric ascent to international stardom that would only be put to a halt by his untimely death in 1988.
Basquiat’s iconoclastic oeuvre revolves around the human figure. Exploiting the creative potential of free association and past experience, he created deeply personal, often autobiographical, images by drawing liberally from such disparate fields as urban street culture, music, poetry, Christian iconography, African-American and Aztec cultural histories and a broad range of art historical sources.