Landmark Basquiat portrait leads Sotheby's London art sale

AnnaO

AnnaO

2017-02-21 10:56:32

A landmark portrait by Jean-Michel Basquiat will lead a Sotheby's sale of contemporary art in London next month.

'Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face)' is regarded as one of Basquiat's finest full-length male portraits, and was executed in 1982 following his breakthrough as an international star.

The painting last appeared at public auction in 1987, the year before his death, when it sold for $23,100 – which was amongst the highest prices ever paid for a Basquiat work at the time.

Having remained off the market for three decades, Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face) will now be offered with an estimate of £14-£18 million ($17.3-$22.3 million).

Basquiat painted 'Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face)' in 1982 at the peak of his creative powers.

Having made his breakthrough into the art world in 1981 with the renowned New York/New Wave show at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre, he hosted six solo shows the following year and produced a remarkable series of large-scale works.

Amongst them were several portraits in which Basquiat attempted to redress the imbalance he saw in the art world whilst growing up in Brooklyn.

As he put it simply: "I realised that I didn’t see many paintings with black people in them".

"The hero figures in Basquiat’s paintings refer to the stars of sporting, musical and artistic worlds who, thanks to their extraordinary talents, transcended their social status to become the nation’s icons," said Alex Branczik, Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Europe.

"Painted with their arms held aloft and wearing a crown of thorns they also reflect Basquiat’s own dramatic ascent from street artist to gallery sensation, and to his present status as one of the most valuable and talked about artists in the world."

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction takes place in London on March 8.

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