In its upcoming May sale, Christie’s is bringing a painting of Jean-Michel Basquiat, titled Portrait of an Artist as a Young Derelict (1982) in the open market for the first time.
Portrait of an Artist as a Young Derelict has been in the same private collection for 27 years. It was first exhibited at the Fun Gallery (New York) in 1982, the same year it was created. Soon after, it was bought by a collector whose name has yet not been disclosed. Over the years, the work has been showcased all over the world, most recently at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in 2019. But this is the first time that the world has been in the open market since it was created.
The artwork is a three-part painting created on wood panels. The work stands at almost seven-foot-wide. The painting has various imageries, some said to be linked to Basquiat’s own rise to fame and eventual death. For instance, the word “Morte” (Latin for “death”) could be found in the mid-bottom section. The triptych format of the painting is said to be inspired by certain Renaissance art styles. The painting will go on sale at the Contemporary art sale at Christie’s in May this year.
The auction house has not revealed the pre-sale estimate of the painting – it is only available on request. However, the auction will begin with a price of $30 million. In recent years, Basquiat’s works have become hot property in the art world. Seven works of the late artist have ever been sold for more than $40 million – three of which were sold in the last year alone. Basquiat, who died in 1988 at the age of 27, is said to have been at his peak in the early 1980s; naturally, works from this era are the most sought-after.