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Basquiat Painting, Bought For $19K, is Sold for Record $110M
A painting by ’80s art star Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for $110.5 million to Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa at Sotheby’s in New York on Thursday, setting an auction record for an American artist, as Bloomberg reports.
The painting, Untitled 1982, was originally bought by New York collectors Jerry and Emily Spiegel for $19,000 in 1984, according to Bloomberg, but was out of public view until the Spiegel’s deaths in 2009. The incredible profit reaped off Basquiat’s goes to the Spiegel’s daughter Lise.
The bidding for the painting started on May 18 at $57 million, sparking gasps in the packed salesroom, and lasted for more than 10 minutes as three parties chased after the work. The result ended up smashing Andy Warhol’s $105.4 million auction record and making Brooklyn-born Basquiat the most expensive American artist at auction. Basquiat died in 1988.
“I remember astounding the art world back in 1980s when I set an auction record for Basquiat at $99,000,” said Jeffrey Deitch, an art dealer who was the artist’s friend and champion. “All of us, Jean-Michel’s friends, we totally believed in his genius. I always thought he would be one day in the league of Picasso, Bacon and Van Gogh. The work has that iconic quality. His appeal is real.”
Bloomberg notes that Sotheby’s had valued the Basquiat painting at $60 million with a guaranteed undisclosed minimum regardless of the bidding. The bidding then started at $57 million, “sparking gasps in the packed salesroom, and lasted for more than 10 minutes as three parties chased after the work.”
The deal for Basquiat’s painting broke the record for an American artist by topping the $105.4 million that had been paid for an Andy Warhol painting. The deal helped power Sotheby’s to $319 million in sales, a 32 percent increase over last year, Bloomberg reports.