Although Christie's stated that it was the highest auction price paid for a Western artwork in Asia, this may be a technicality: Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire collector, paid $110 million for Basquiat's "Untitled" in a Sotheby's New York auction in 2017. It still holds the artist's auction record.
For an idea of how popular Basquiat is among collectors, his work has sold for more than $500 million at auctions worldwide. One of his paintings, "Number 2 (Red), White and Blue", sold for $65.5 million in 2018. Another, "Lady with a Fan", sold for $44.6 million in 2011.
So, according to these records, his art is worth more than $100 million each. But what does that mean really? That's like half of Tokyo selling their house just to buy one piece of art!
In fact, most famous artists have had their works valued by experts between $25,000 and $45,000. So, in terms of cost, Basquiat's career would not have been financially ruinous.
However, he did suffer from alcohol and drug addiction which could have ruined him financially. Addiction can cause problems finding employment and housing so this could also have been a factor in his bankruptcy.
Basquiat died at the age of 28 in 1988 after an overdose on heroin and cocaine.
110.5 million dollars When it arrived at Sotheby's New York contemporary art evening auction in May 2017, Untitled became the most expensive piece by Basquiat to ever sell at auction, greatly above its pre-sale high estimate of $60 million. The painting was sold to an unknown buyer for $105.4 million.
Basquiat died at age 27 after a long battle with drug addiction. He had only lived in Manhattan for three years before his death but he left an indelible mark on the city and on global art history. His work can be found in many museums around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
Basquiat's life was marked by poverty and violence. He was born in 1964 to immigrant Haitian parents in Brooklyn, New York. He had two siblings and a very happy childhood until his father abandoned the family when Basquiat was 11 years old. After that, he went to live with his mother who worked as a janitor to support her family. She sent him to public school but he quit after one year because he did not like it there. Instead, he spent his time drawing and looking up to artists such as Keith Haring and James Dean.
The greatest prints by Basquiat may fetch millions of pounds. Untitled, his most expensive edition, sold at $2.9 million (PS2.35 million) in June 2020. The piece, printed on canvas, is only available in 10 signed copies with 2 artist proofs; its low edition number and uniqueness have most certainly contributed to its high price.
Basquiat's work is now valued at more than $100 million, making him the most collected American artist of all time. His artworks are in major museums around the world.
In 1990, one of his largest paintings, Untitled (Number 31), was stolen from its owner's home in New York City. It was recovered three months later in Florida, where it had been taken in trade for a house. For this crime, the police arrested two members of a South Carolina drug gang who were trying to sell the painting back to its owner. They confessed to the theft and said that they had planned to auction the painting off for money to buy cocaine. The painting was returned to its owner with no questions asked. He didn't even know it had been missing!
In 2001, another one of his paintings was stolen from its owner in Brooklyn. This time the thief took the painting to Miami, where he tried to sell it to an art dealer for $120,000. The dealer thought the painting was fake and refused to buy it. Later that year, the thief sent part of the painting to an auction house in Kentucky.
Background Information Basquiat created "Warrior" in 1982, which is largely regarded as one of the artist's greatest years. That same year, he finished his most costly painting, "Untitled," which sold for $110.5 million in 2017, making it the most expensive piece by an American artist.
He had been homeless and working as a street painter when he died.
People often wonder what kind of money we are talking about here. Well, according to artnet, "Warrior" was sold for just under $500,000 in 1983. So we can assume that other paintings from this period sell for similar amounts today. $110.5 million was almost 25 times its original price!
This makes him the first black male artist to have a work sell for over $10 million.
There are several factors that go into determining how much these paintings are worth today. The biggest factor is the artist's reputation and popularity over time. As more people learn about Basquiat's work, he becomes more valuable. Also, pieces that were originally priced lower than others of his era can later be re-evaluated higher when new evidence comes to light. For example, "Untitled" was originally estimated to be between $30,000 and $50,000 but was later revised up to $150,000 to $200,000.
Basquiat's ability to sell work for large sums of money while still living in a predominantly white art community was astounding, because that world may appear closed. Basquiat was the most sought-after contemporary artist at auction for the second year in a row in 2012, with total sales of PS68 million.
But he died at 27 years old, so it's possible that talent like his doesn't survive long into adulthood.
In addition to being an extremely successful artist, Basquiat had many other talents. He wrote poems and songs that were published in magazines, he designed album covers, he played electric guitar in bands, and he even worked as a shoe salesman at some point during his career.
So, how did Jean-Michel Basquiat make so much money if he wasn't famous? First of all, we need to understand that he was self-employed, so he got paid whatever people were willing to pay him. We don't know exactly how much he made, but we do know that he spent a huge proportion of it on drugs and alcohol.
Secondly, he probably earned more when he was working than when he was not. If you look at the statistics, there are only a few artists who earn more than $200,000 per year before taxes, and Basquiat is one of them.