Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)
was an American artist who rose to success during the 1980s as part of the Neo-expressionism movement.
Basquiat first achieved notoriety in the late 1970s as part of the graffiti duo SAMO, alongside Al Diaz, writing enigmatic epigrams all over Manhattan, particularly in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side where rap, punk, and street art coalesced into early hip-hop music culture. By the early 1980s, his paintings were being exhibited in galleries and museums internationally. At 21, Basquiat became the youngest artist to ever take part in Documenta in Kassel, Germany. At 22, he was one of the youngest to exhibit at the Whitney Biennial in New York. The Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of his artwork in 1992.
Basquiat's art focused on dichotomies such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. He appropriated poetry, drawing, and painting, and married text and image, abstraction, figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique. He used social commentary in his paintings as a tool for introspection and for identifying with his experiences in the black community, as well as attacks on power structures and systems of racism. His visual poetics were acutely political and direct in their criticism of colonialism and support for class struggle.
Since his death at the age of 27 in 1988, Basquiat's work has steadily increased in value. In 2017, Untitled, a 1982 painting depicting a black skull with red and yellow rivulets, sold for a record-breaking $110.5 million, becoming one of the most expensive paintings ever purchased.

In This Case
Price realised
USD 93,105,000

El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile)
Price realised
USD 67,110,000

Dustheads
Price realised
USD 48,843,750

Untitled
Price realised
USD 57,285,000

La Hara
Price realised
USD 34,967,500


The Guilt of Gold Teeth
Price realised
USD 40,000,000