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. That piece also sold to Maezawa.