Jean-Michel Basquiat: Art for Sale on Deodato Arte - As one of the world's most highly valued artists, Jean-Michel Basquiat, along with Keith Haring, succeeded in bringing American graffiti art from the metropolitan streets to art galleries. In 1983 he joined Andy Warhol's Factory, with whom he worked in the creation of several works.
Among the many artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Crown is certainly among the best known. The crown depicted will become a distinctive symbol of the artist.
Born on 22 December 1960 in Brooklyn, New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat was an important American writer and painter. Born to a Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother, he approached the world of art as a child, encouraged by his mother who took him to visit the most important museums in New York such as the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum.
Inspired by the cartoons he saw on television, Basquiat began drawing at the age of four. When he was just eight years old, he had a serious accident that forced him to spend a month in hospital. Here, his mother gave him the anatomy textbook Gray's Anatomy by Henry Gray, which influenced him greatly, to the point of inspiring his future artwork in which he drew many anatomical elements. The influence of the anatomy textbook will mark both Basquiat artist and musician; in fact, he will name his first band Gray.
The birth of artist Basquiat occurred in 1977, when at school he met Al Diaz, a young graffiti artist working in Manhattan. Together with Diaz, Basquiat would create an artistic partnership, the two of them starting to produce graffiti on the streets of New York, signing themselves SAMO, or Same Old Shit. However, the partnership would end just three years later, after which Basquiat would write SAMO is dead on the city walls for a while, and after which the SAMO - Basquiat association would no longer take place.
"One night we were smoking weed and I said something about it always being the same old shit, The Same Old Shit. SAMO, right? Imagine: selling packs of SAMO! That's how it started, as a joke between friends, and then it grew." - Jean-Michel Basquiat
After the SAMO - Basquiat parenthesis, works and graffiti will be influenced by the meeting with the king of Pop, Andy Warhol. Jean-Michel Basquiat art entered the famous Factory, Andy Warhol's studio, where he formed a strong bond with Keith Haring. Together with Keith Haring, Basquiat succeeded in bringing American graffiti art from the streets of metropolitan cities to the world's most important art galleries.
In the early 1980s, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and Kenny Scharf participated in the retrospective New York/New Wave. In the same year, Basquiat had his first solo exhibition in Modena, Italy.
In spite of the success Basquiat art achieved, graffiti, artwork and international success did not succeed in driving him away from drug addiction, which would lead to his death in 1988, at the age of just 27, due to acute mixed drug intoxication.
In Jean-Michel Basquiat, paintings and style are strongly influenced by the new commercial advertising language that characterized the 1970s and 1980s in New York. The metropolitan city allowed the young and promising Basquiat to approach the world of Street Art and thanks to the different influences Basquiat was able to create a unique, simple and minimal style.
Jean-Michel Basquiat artwork alternates between the use of lettering, spray cans, symbols and various pictograms, all these techniques create a strong visual impact in Basquiat painting. Strong meaning and denunciation of the injustices African Americans are subjected to is a central theme in his works. Along with the use of pictographs, colorful anthropomorphic figures often appear in Jean-Michel Basquiat's works.
Thanks to his parents' origins in Jean-Michel Basquiat, artworks with a strong African American, African and Aztec influence are mixed together, incorporating the different styles and creating works that still amaze today.
Sold at auction in 2017 for $110.5 million, Basquiat's artwork Untitled (1982) ranks among the top 10 most expensive works ever auctioned. The Basquiat highest price artwork depicts a skull, composed of black brushstrokes with red, yellow and white rivulets on a blue background. Created in 1982, the artist's most prolific year, it was purchased by Japanese businessman and art collector Yusaku Maezawa.
Thanks to the 2017 auction, Basquiat is considered the youngest artist to have surpassed the $100 million sales threshold; the artist was just 21 years old when he painted Untitled (1982). Moreover, with the sale of the work, Basquiat surpassed the auction record of his mentor Andy Warhol, who had set the auction record at $105 million with Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster).
Having become an undisputed and recognizable symbol of the artist Basquiat, Crown has a very deep meaning. For Jean-Michel Basquiat, crown symbolizes an act of rebellion, as it often appears in paintings in which social and political themes are addressed.
Using the symbol of the crown, Jean-Michel Basquiat challenges the status quo by mocking the recognition he received from international critics. Moreover, he was regarded as the only black artist to have achieved fame in the art market.
However, there are numerous interpretations behind the artist's symbol, such as that anyone can succeed if they put their mind to it or that no matter how much effort someone puts into achieving their goals, a hereditary monarchy will always prevail. Despite the many divergences of meaning in Jean-Michel Basquiat, Crown becomes a unique motif that embodies the artist's wide range of ideas on art, race, politics and fame.
Of great importance was the meeting with Andy Warhol that took place in 1983. Since then, numerous works have been realised by the two, thus creating a Warhol x Basquiat partnership that will influence the works of both artists. Four-handedly Basquiat, Warhol created more than one hundred paintings, in which the contribution of both artists is evident. This cycle of works was exhibited in a joint exhibition in which the poster is an emblematic photo of the two artists portrayed as the protagonists of a boxing match, a sport that Basquiat had always been passionate about and that represented such a way of life for the artist that he often compared boxing to the world of art.
In 1984, Andy Warhol, Basquiat and the Italian artist Francesco Clemente started to make six-hand paintings commissioned by Bruno Bischofberger in which each artist painted without knowing what the others were painting.
Although the Basquiat death was premature contributed to the limited creation of works of art, the impact he had on the art market over the years is significant. Today, Basquiat's history and fame are still much discussed and his iconic symbols are taken up in numerous works by international artists. Some of the most important collaborations today include Jean-Michel Basquiat x Bearbrick, in which the artist's features and pictograms are recreated on the best-known art toy.
"Jean-Michel Basquiat lived like a flame. He burned brightly, until the fire went out, but his embers are still smouldering". - Keith Haring
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