Lot 3
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  • Jean-Michel Basquiat
  • Old Cars
  • acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on canvas
  • 48 by 47 1/4 in. 121.9 by 120 cm. CHECK
signed, titled and dated 1981 on the reverse


Robert Miller Gallery, New York
Private Collection, Monaco
Sotheby's, London, June 27, 2001, lot 16
Acquired by the present owner from the above sale

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Authentication Committee of The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.


New York, MoMA PS1, New York/New Wave, February - April 1981
Künzelsau, Museum Würth, Jean-Michel Basquiat, October 2001 - January 2002, p. 75, illustrated in color
New York, PaceWildenstein, Dubuffet and Basquiat: Personal Histories, April - June 2006, pp. 46-47, illustrated in color
Seoul, Kukje Gallery, Jean-Michel Basquiat, February - March 2013, p. 51, p. 54 & p. 90, illustrated in color
Milan, Museo delle Culture, Jean-Michel Basquiat, October 2016 - February 2017, p. 59, illustrated in color
Rome, Chiostro del Bramante, Jean-Michel Basquiat: New York City, March - July 2017, pp. 42-43, illustrated in color
Sao Paulo; Brasilia; Belo Horizonte; Rio de Janeiro, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Obras da Colecao Mugrabi, January 2018 - January 2019, p.29 & p. 41, illustrated in color


Richard D. Marshall, Jean-Louis Prat, and Enrico Navarra, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 2nd Ed., Vol. II, Paris, 1996, no. 1, p. 54, illustrated in color
Richard D. Marshall, Jean-Louis Prat, and Enrico Navarra, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 3rd Ed., Vol. II, Paris, 2000, no. 1, p. 80, illustrated in color
Exh. Cat., London, Barbican Centre, Basquiat Boom for Real, September 2017 - January 2018, p. 91, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Cars are a recurring theme in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work, as powerfully captured in Old Cars from 1981. Not only was the automobile a potent symbol of life in the bustling city of New York, it also held strong personal significance for Basquiat who was hit by a car at the age of 8 whilst playing in the streets. His time recovering in hospital became a formative experience, as this is where he developed his interest in the human body through his study of Gray’s Anatomy, which his mother gave him to read. The accident was clearly traumatic, as the six cars in this painting are juxtaposed with the repeated scream AAAAAAA, and an angry red face in the upper left corner.