The Basquiat Blitz Continues: Sotheby’s Will Auction Four Blockbuster Works by the Artist This Fall

A European private collector has consigned four Basquiat works to the auction house. They will go under the hammer in November.

Jean‐Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Pollo Frito) (1982). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

It’s no secret that Interest in Jean-Michele Basquiat’s work has reached fever pitch. And if the fall season is any indication, the temperature isn’t abating anytime soon. Days before the Fondation Louis Vuitton is set to unveil a major show of the late artist’s work, Sotheby’s has announced a blockbuster consignment of four Basquiat works for its upcoming contemporary evening auction in New York on November 14.

The group is conservatively estimated at between $34.5 million to $39 million, but it could potentially sell for far more.

The star lot of the bunch is Untitled (Pollo Frito), 1982, a diptych which has never appeared at auction before and is estimated in the region of $25 million. Sotheby’s declined to comment on the consignor except to say that the works are from a private European collection.

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, Taxi, 45th/Broadway (Circa 1984-85). Courtesy Sotheby's.

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, Taxi, 45th/Broadway (Circa 1984-85). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

The second-highest estimated work, Taxi, 45th/Broadway (circa 1984), is a collaboration between the artist and Andy Warhol that was formerly in the collection of Gianni Versace. The current estimate on the work is $6 million to $8 million. In a sign of how far the Basquiat market has come, the work last appeared at auction at Sotheby’s London in 2005, where the consignor snapped it up for £478,400 ($872,992), on an estimate of £180,000 to £250,000 ($328,000 to $456,000).

If the work even gets close to its pre-sale estimate, the price will be around six times what the consignor paid for it 13 years ago.

Jean-Michel Basquiat <i>Untitled</i> (1988) . Courtesy Sotheby's.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled (1982). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

The remaining two lots are priced far lower. Untitled (1982), an oil stick and acrylic on plywood, is estimated at $1.5 million to $2 million. It was last auctioned 20 years ago, at Sotheby’s New York on November 18, 1998, for $70,700 on an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000.

Jean-Michel Basquiat <i> Untitled</i> (1982). Courtesy Sotheby's.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled (1988). Courtesy Sotheby’s.


A far more spartan Untitled work depicting a typical Basquiat head on a dark, chalkboard-like background, from 1988, is estimated at $2 million to $4 million. According to a statement from Sotheby’s, fewer than 30 examples are known.

The current record for Basquiat stands at $110.5 million for a major untitled 1982 oil painting that Sotheby’s sold in May 2017. The buyer was Japanese billion Yusaku Maezawa who has agreed to lend that work to the upcoming Louis Vuitton show.

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