Selling for $110.5 million (roughly £85 million), Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled” became the most expensive work ever sold by an American artist, and the first work in nearly four decades to make over $100 million.
Purchased over the phone at Sotheby’s, the buyer revealed himself in the most appropriate, and contemporary, fashion: a humble brag Insta post. Yusaku Maezawa — a Japanese billionaire and fashion mogul — captioned the series of photos of himself admiring “Untitled” from different angles: “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.” Maezawa will undoubtedly add this Basquiat to is growing collection of contemporary art (including another Basquiat, works by Pablo Picasso and a piece by Richard Prince), which he plans to display in a museum he is building in his hometown of Chiba.
As the vibrant 1983 painting becomes the sixth most expensive work sold at auction, Basquiat surpasses his frequent collaborator, Andy Warhol, whose record high was $105.4 four years ago for “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)(in 2 Parts)”.