Jean-Michel Basquiat Sets £40m World Auction Record At Christie’s




Christies Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale in New York has realised a total US $318,388,000 / £220,796,117 /€279,086,291. The sell-through rates of 87% by lot and 91% by value is considered a staggering result. The sale established six new world auction records for artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Agnes Martin, Mike Kelley, Richard Prince, Kerry James Marshall and Barry X Ball. The results of tonight’s sale brings the week’s running total to $396.5million, which includes the price achieved by the May 8 evening auction of Bound to Fail. 

A Japanese billionaire has turned out to be the mystery buyer behind the $57.3 million purchase of a huge self-portrait by Jean-Michel Basquiat at auction earlier this week, his art foundation said Thursday. “Jean-Michel Basquiat is coming to Japan,” businessman Yusaku Maezaw wrote on his Instagram account, posing in front of the painting. 

Sara Friedlander, Vice President, Head of Evening Sale, Post-War and Contemporary Art, stated: “We built our sales this season to reflect the macro environment, providing an ideal balance that suits an array of collecting tastes. Tonight’s success is the result of a tightly edited sale with top quality works, which were extremely fresh to the marketplace. 84% of the lots had never been sold at auction, and of the 10 works that had been sold, only 4 had been offered over the past 10 years. We are very pleased to see collectors gravitate to a broad spectrum of art, spanning from masterpiece quality works, including Rothko’s No. 17, to artists who are quickly rising within the auction market. One such example is Kerry James Marshall, whose Plunge, captivated the imagination of so many collectors and set a world auction record for the artist.” 

Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “We are very proud of the record price achieved for Basquiat’s monumental portrait of the artist as devil at a time when top collectors are pursuing works of the very highest quality. This painting drew intense competition that dispelled questions of a market contraction. We are particularly happy that the work was acquired by a collector in Asia, demonstrating the global scope of the masterpiece market.”

The sale attracted registered bidders from 39 countries, with strong bidding from Asia, Europe and the United States. 

Photo: Basquiat Detail courtey Christie’s New York


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