Kiss the Crown! Basquiat Dethroned These 5 American Artists With His $110.5M Record

The upstart dethroned canonical figures in the history of American art.

Radio Stephansdom, Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat (1985). Image via YouTube.
Radio Stephansdom, Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat (1985). Image via YouTube.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, the legendary New York graffiti artist-turned-art world phenomenon, captured the record for the top-selling American artist at auction at Sotheby’s New York Thursday night, cementing his place in a market pantheon by $110.5 million. Market valuation and art-historical significance don’t always coincide, but this set a high-water mark for an artist whose market had already gone nuclear and who had long been among the top-selling African-American artists by volume.

What other US artists did Basquiat dethrone? What does the new record mean for the way these artists are relatively valued? That will be for market experts to debate. In the meantime, for your eye-popping pleasure, here are the artists Basquiat pushed down on the list.

Jean Michel-Basquiat, Untitled (1982). Courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1982). Courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

 

1. $105.4 million

Andy Warhol, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) (in 2 parts)

Sold in November 2013 at Sotheby’s New York

Andy Warhol, Silver Car Crash [Double Disaster] (1963). Image courtesy of Sotheby's Auction House.

Andy Warhol, Silver Car Crash [Double Disaster] (1963). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

2. $95.4 Million

Roy Lichtenstein, Nurse

Sold in November 2015 at Christie’s New York

Roy Lichtenstein, Nurse (1964). Courtesy of Christie's New York.

Roy Lichtenstein, Nurse (1964).
Courtesy of Christie’s New York.

3. $86.9 Million

Mark Rothko, Orange, Red, Yellow

Sold in May 2012 at Christie’s New York

Mark Rothko, Orange, Red, Yellow (1961). Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Mark Rothko, Orange, Red, Yellow (1961). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

4. $84.2 Million

Barnett Newman, Black Fire I

Sold at Christie’s New York

Barnett Newman <i>Black Fire I</i> (1961). Photo courtesy of Christie's.

Barnett Newman Black Fire I (1961). Photo courtesy of Christie’s.

5. $81.9 Million

Mark Rothko, No. 10

Sold in May 2015 at Christie’s New York

Mark Rothko, No. 10 (1958), oil on canvas. Photo courtesy Christie’s.

Mark Rothko, No. 10 (1958).
Photo courtesy Christie’s.

 


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