Basquiat Painting Sells for $110.5 Million

2017-05-20

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  • In 1980, American graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was selling his drawings for $50 each.
  • 2
  • This week, his painting "Untitled" sold in New York for $110.5 million.
  • 3
  • Only 10 works of art have sold at auction for more than $100 million.
  • 4
  • Basquiat's painting sets a new record for price of a work by an American artist.
  • 5
  • An Andy Warhol painting called "Silver Car Crash" was sold in 2013 for $105 million.
  • 6
  • The painting "Untitled" is of a skull-like head against a blue background.
  • 7
  • It last sold more than 30 years ago for $19,000.
  • 8
  • Japanese billionaire Yosaku Maezawa bought "Untitled" at Sotheby's auction house on Thursday night.
  • 9
  • Basquiat was a street artist who became famous in the early 1980s.
  • 10
  • He died of a drug overdose in 1987 at the age of 27.
  • 11
  • He was known for using bright colors, words and mixed materials in his work.
  • 12
  • His art captured the imagination of many artists, gallery owners and musicians in New York City.
  • 13
  • Fans and supporters included Andy Warhol, David Bowie and gallery owner Larry Gagosian.
  • 14
  • At one time, Basquiat's girlfriend was music star Madonna.
  • 15
  • Maezawa is a big fan of Basquiat. He bought another Basquiat painting for more than $57 million last year.
  • 16
  • Maezawa said he will loan the painting to museums around the world before displaying it in his hometown of Chiba, Japan.
  • 17
  • "I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me, and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations," Maezawa said.
  • 18
  • Gregoire Billaut is the auction company's head of modern art.
  • 19
  • He said he has never seen so much emotion in a painting.
  • 20
  • "He's bringing something never seen before," Billaut said.
  • 21
  • I'm Caty Weaver.
  • 1
  • In 1980, American graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was selling his drawings for $50 each. This week, his painting "Untitled" sold in New York for $110.5 million.
  • 2
  • Only 10 works of art have sold at auction for more than $100 million.
  • 3
  • Basquiat's painting sets a new record for price of a work by an American artist. An Andy Warhol painting called "Silver Car Crash" was sold in 2013 for $105 million.
  • 4
  • The painting "Untitled" is of a skull-like head against a blue background. It last sold more than 30 years ago for $19,000.
  • 5
  • Japanese billionaire Yosaku Maezawa bought "Untitled" at Sotheby's auction house on Thursday night.
  • 6
  • Basquiat was a street artist who became famous in the early 1980s. He died of a drug overdose in 1987 at the age of 27.
  • 7
  • He was known for using bright colors, words and mixed materials in his work. His art captured the imagination of many artists, gallery owners and musicians in New York City.
  • 8
  • Fans and supporters included Andy Warhol, David Bowie and gallery owner Larry Gagosian. At one time, Basquiat's girlfriend was music star Madonna.
  • 9
  • Maezawa is a big fan of Basquiat. He bought another Basquiat painting for more than $57 million last year.
  • 10
  • Maezawa said he will loan the painting to museums around the world before displaying it in his hometown of Chiba, Japan.
  • 11
  • "I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me, and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations," Maezawa said.
  • 12
  • Gregoire Billaut is the auction company's head of modern art. He said he has never seen so much emotion in a painting.
  • 13
  • "He's bringing something never seen before," Billaut said.
  • 14
  • I'm Caty Weaver.
  • 15
  • Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English based on reports by VOA News and the Associated Press. Hai Do was the editor.
  • 16
  • What do you think of Basquiat's paintings? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
  • 17
  • ____________________________________________________________
  • 18
  • Words in This Story
  • 19
  • auction - n. a public sale at which things are sold to the people who offer to pay the most
  • 20
  • masterpiece - n. ​a great book, painting, piece of music, movie, etc.