Earlier this evening, Sotheby’s sold an untitled Jean-Michel Basquiat painting from 1982 for $110.5 million, inclusive of auction house fees. It marks a world auction record for the artist, who died at age 27 in 1988. It is also the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by an American artist.
According to a statement from Sotheby’s, “The work was purchased by noted collector and entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa, the founder of e-commerce giant Start Today, and ZOZOTOWN, the virtual mall on Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce site. The painting will eventually be housed in a museum based in Mr. Maezawa’s hometown of Chiba, Japan.”
The painting carried a presale estimate in excess of $60 million and was widely reported to have been guaranteed at $60 million by Sotheby’s. The painting was consigned by the estate of Jerry and Emily Spiegel, who acquired the piece for $19,000 in 1984.
The previous record for Basquiat’s work at auction was the $57.3 million paid last year at a Christie’s New York sale for another untitled painting from 1982, from the collection of Adam Lindemann.
Stay tuned for ARTnews Senior Staff Writer Nate Freeman’s full report from tonight’s contemporary art auction at Sotheby’s.