Lot 4
  • 4

Jean-Michel Basquiat

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  • Jean-Michel Basquiat
  • Sans Titre/Untitled (Elephant)
  • Graphite and oilstick on paper
  • 56 by 77 cm, 22 by 30 1/4 in.
  • Executed in 1987.


Private Collection, Europe


Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes; Recife (Brazil), Museu de Arte Moderna; Sao Paulo, Pinacoteca; Jean-Michel Basquiat. Obras sobre papel. 1997-1998, ill. p. 94
Klagenfurt, Stadt Galerie, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Werke auf papier/Works on Paper. 1999, p. 110
La Habana, Casa de las Americas, Fundacion Habana Club. Basquiat en la Habana. 2000, p. 130
Shanghai, Duolun MoMA; Beijing, Imperial City Art Museum, Jean-Michel Basquiat, with texts by Tsong-Zung Chang, Johnny Depp, Richard D. Marshall, David Tang, 2006, p. 45
New York, Van de Weghe Fine Art, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Works on paper, with texts by Johnny Depp, Richard D. Marshall, 2007, p. 18
New York, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Jean-Michel Basquiat. French Collections with texts by Johnny Depp, Richard D. Marshall, 2007, p. 8
Cotonou, Fondation Zinsou, Jean-Michel Basquiat in Cotonou. Works on paper, with texts by Johnny Depp, Richard D. Marshall, 2007, p. 8.


Bernard Blistène, Robert Farris Thompson, Richard D . Marshall, Elena Ochoa, Jean Michel Basquiat, Paris, Galerie Enrico Navarra ed., 1999, ill. p. 308

Catalogue Note

American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) is best known for his graffiti-styled art. Basquiat was one of the most influential figures of the post-war landscape in New York City, when new art movements and innovation bourgeoned and artists flourished thanks to a newfound experimentation with abstraction.
Born in Brooklyn to Haitian and Puerto Rican parents in a low-income neighbourhood, Basquiat’s artistic talent was eminent from a young age. Most of his skills were honed during his rebellious years spent living on the streets and his style was inspired by the rampant street and hip-hop culture that characterised New York of the 1970s.
Basquiat started his artistic career spray-painting graffiti on buildings in the gritty Lower East Side of Manhattan with a friend, working under the pseudonym SAMO, but soon gained notoriety and recognition as an individual artist. In 1980 Basquiat participated in The Times Square Show, a group exhibition and the artist’s very first public show. One year later he had a highly successful solo-exhibition at the Annina Nosei gallery. Consequently dubbed “The Radiant Child” by critic Rene Ricard in Artforum magazine, Basquiat shot to international stardom in artistic communities at an extremely young age and started working with fellow celebrity artists including Andy Warhol, musician David Bowie as well as distinct rap artists from the New York’s hip-hop community.
Perhaps the most profound element of Basquiat’s story is the rapid and fearless way in which he transcended borders and boundaries. In a world dominated by middle-, upper-class whiteness, the artist’s unabashed, mischievous yet complex images of Haitian heritage, African-American identity and black culture disrupted the existing status-quo. Along with Pop-legend Andy Warhol, Basquiat is largely credited with conflating the realms between high and low art.
Basquiat passed away at a young age of 27 from heroin overdose. Nevertheless, his legacy continues today in museums and distinguished collections all over the world. The artist is represented by many of the largest galleries in the world and his works have been consistently shown at major museums in America and Europe.