Basquiat $110 Million Skull Painting Sale Sets Multiple Records

Sotheby’s auction house this week announced a sale price of $110.5 million for an untitled painting by Brooklyn born painter and graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The price tag makes it the sixth highest amount ever paid for a work of art at a Sotheby’s auction.

The purchase set several records, according to the NY Times, which described the price as the highest paid for any American artist, for a work by an African American artist and the first work since 1980 to make over $100 million.

Japanese billionaire and founder of online fashion mall Zozotown, Yusaku Maezawa, proudly announced himself on social media as the new owner of the painting. “I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece. When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible,” wrote Maezawa, who made waves when he purchased another work by Basquiat for $57.3 million, which at the time was a record price for a painting by the artist.

Basquiat created the skull painting in 1982, six years before he passed away at the age of 27 in his SoHo studio. The acrylic, spray paint and oil stick work of art is 72.5 inches high and 68.5 inches wide.

The painting was purchased in 1984 by avid collectors Jerry and Emily Spiegel for $19,000, and hasn’t been shown in public since. The painting was sold by the Spiegal’s daughter, Pamela Sanders, who inherited part of their art collection when they passed away in 2009.

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