Embroiled in Allegations of Domestic Abuse, Johnny Depp to Sell His Collection of Nine Basquiats

They'll be sold as part of the Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions this month.

Johnny Depp in London in 2015. Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI.

Christie’s London will hold this season’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Auctions on June 29 and 30 at King Street, and there are some exciting lots up for sale.

A major highlight of the auction will be a capsule selection of nine works by Jean-Michel Basquiat from the collection of actor Johnny Depp, spanning 25 years of the artists career.

Depp, who is currently embroiled in allegations of domestic abuse from his estranged wife Amber Heard, is auctioning the paintings ahead of the sure-to-be costly divorce, although Christie’s says the sale has been planned since the beginning of this year.


“Nothing can replace the warmth and immediacy of Basquiat’s poetry, or the absolute questions and truths that he delivered,” Depp wrote of his love of the the artists work, as quoted in the auctioneers press release.”The beautiful and disturbing music of his paintings, the cacophony of his silence that attacks our senses, will live far beyond our breath,” he added.

Another Basquiat painting, an Untitled canvas, was recently snapped up by Yusaku Maezawa for $57.3 million at Christie’s New York in May, setting a new record for the artist at auction. Depp’s Basquiat, which is titled Pork (1981), has a more modest presale estimate of £2,500,000-3,500,000 ($3,600,000-5,000,000).

Christie’s major sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art is estimated to to fetch a combined total £90,000,000 ($129,726,000) across all auctions.

A number of stunning early works by Pop Art icons Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein are leading the auction. Warhol’s Two Dollar Bills (Fronts) [40 Two Dollar Bills in red] (1962) has a presale estimate of £4,000,000-6,000,000 ( $5,800,000-8,600,000).

Lot 10. Andy Warhol <i>Two Dollar Bills (Fronts) [40 Two Dollar Bills in red]</i> Photo: © Christie’s Images Limited 2016.

Lot 10. Andy Warhol Two Dollar Bills (Fronts) [40 Two Dollar Bills in red] (1962). Photo ©Christie’s Images Limited 2016.

 Also in this sale are works from American artists including Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mike Kelley, Glenn Ligon, and Kelley Walker.

A work from European titan Gerhard Richter is also a top lot. Richter’s 1994, Abstraktes Bild (811-2) will go under the hammer with a presale estimate available only on request, but as the world’s most expensive living painter, the price is sure to be steep.

Gerhard Richter <i> Abstraktes Bild (811-2)</i> (1994). Photo: © Christie’s Images Limited 2016.

Gerhard Richter,  Abstraktes Bild (811-2) (1994). Photo ©Christie’s Images Limited 2016.

This season’s auctions are complemented by those up for auction in Christie’s 250th anniversary sale “Defining British Artincluding Francis Bacon’s landmark canvas Version No. 2 of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe (1968) and Lucian Freud’s Ib and her husband (1992).

“This June promises to be the most exciting presentation of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s in many years,” Francis Outred, Christie’s chairman and head of Post War and Contemporary Art for Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India, said in a statement.

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