Basquiat just joined the handful of artists, from Picasso to Warhol, whose work has fetched over $100 million at auction.
His 1982 painting of a skull ensconced in primary colors, "Untitled", was sold at for $110,487,500 — that makes it the sixth most expensive piece of art ever auctioned and marks a new record for any American artist and for artwork created post-1980. The striking painting has rarely been seen since it was sold in 1984 for just $19,000.
The highly-desirable piece was purchased by Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire and art collector, following a 10-minute auction battle (watched live by thousands on Instagram). Maezawa plans to loan it to museums and institutions worldwide before exhibiting it in a museum that he is presently working on in his hometown of Chiba, Japan.
"This extraordinary canvas from 1982 has broken so many benchmarks, but those of us lucky enough to have been in its presence will only remember its awesome power," commented Grégoire Billault, the Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department in New York. "To think it was created by a virtually-unknown 21-year old is humbling."