Christie’s London Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 18 October 2013 realised a total including Buyer’s Premium: 27,788,900 GBP. It featured a collaborative work by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol from the prestigious collection of Oliver Stone, the film director whose credits include Platoon, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Nixon and Any Given Sunday. Cops, 1984 (estimate: £1,300,000-1,800,000) The Painting realised Price Realised, £1,538,500 ($2,484,678) and was acquired from legendary dealer Bruno Bischofberger in 1991, the same year Stone directed his double Academy Award-winning film, JFK.
Oliver Stone, commented: “I bought the painting in 1987. It was strange then, strange now – always the conversation piece – but I think it has a memorable beauty.”
Executed in 1984, this work blurs the boundaries between commercial art and graffiti and unites two of the most important painters of the 20th century onto a single and powerful canvas. Basquiat and his mentor worked together closely on this collaboration in between workout appointments with Warhol’s trainer, downtown dinners and parties. The result was a merging of two distinct art systems: the cool commercialism and pop culture aesthetic of Warhol and the expressive, impulsive, gestural urban imagery of Basquiat. At almost two metres high and three metres wide, the image takes on billboard-like proportions, matching the fame both artists had achieved by the time of their collaboration.