Phillips to auction an imposing masterpiece by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Phillips to auction an imposing masterpiece by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat — Untitled Devil — 1982

Phillips has announced that it will auction “Untitled (Devil)” -one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s most important paintings- in New York next May.

Image: Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Untitled (Devil)”, 1982. Oil on canvas, 240 × 500 cm. Yusaku Maezawa Collection

In the last ten years, Jean-Michel Basquiat has undoubtedly been one of the biggest names on the art market, to the extent that his work has experienced a rise in value almost unparalleled among contemporary artists. This has led to a certain “oversaturation” of Basquiats on the market, which auction houses are quick to describe as “masterpieces” when, in fact, Basquiat’s undisputed masterpieces that have come on the market in recent years can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

However, the work that Phillips will put up for auction next May is one of this select group of undisputed masterpieces. It is, in my opinion, one of the artist’s five or six best paintings, and the best Basquiat to come on the market in at least the last five years (taking into account that the sale of “Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump” was a private transaction).

“Untitled (Devil)”, a stunning five-metre-long tour de force, was last auctioned at Christie’s New York in 2015, when it was acquired by its current owner, Yusaku Maezawa, for $57.2 million, then a record for the artist, which stood until another “Untitled” was acquired (also by Maezawa) for $110.5 million in 2017. Now, Maezawa has entrusted Phillips with the sale of this painting, which will be auctioned in New York on 18 May.

Can this impressive painting take over the record price it once held? Although its importance is beyond doubt, the evolution of the war in Ukraine brings an element of uncertainty to the market which may work against it. On the other hand, we have already mentioned that last year the market showed some signs of a certain over-saturation of Basquiats: despite the undisputed success of “In this case” (which fetched $93 million despite being far from being one of Basquiat’s great masterpieces), in November his “Made in Japan II” failed to find a buyer at Sotheby’s, while “The Guilt of Gold Teeth”, a spectacular work from 1982, was auctioned at Christie’s for $40 million, a relative disappointment considering its pre-sale estimate of between $40 million and $80 million. #2022 #ArtMarket #JeanMichelBasquiat #theartwolf

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ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

ART magazine aimed to offer an original & independent point of view about the Art World ▷ Its news, events, protagonists, glories and miseries.