Almost three decades since his passing, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work remains a permanent fixture in our art consciousness. In his short life, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a social activist, an anti-segregationist, a pop icon, cultural figure, graffiti artist, musician, and neo-expressionist painter.
The American painter known for his raw gestural style of painting that mixed graffiti and signs with an intuitive approach of Abstract Expressionist paintings addressed his personal angst in highly stylized self-portraits and he condemned racism and segregation in America.
Recently his paintings have been flying off the walls at auction, snapped up by global collectors sometimes double the estimate. Japanese billionaire art collector, Yusaku Maezawa purchased Basquiat’s Untitled skull painting at auction for over 100 million dollars saying he wants to “share that experience with as many people as possible” by owning it.
Basquiat’s body of work focuses on black culture and African American historical figures, including jazz musicians, sports personalities, and writers. He appropriated and freely mixed motifs from African, Caribbean, Aztec, and Hispanic cultures and mixed pop art references with images from mainstream culture, especially cartoons to create genuinely unique artworks that continue to inspire artists around the world.
Here are four Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings sold in the past year or are now on auction.