Untitled Sells for a Basquiat High of $50 Million

Basquiat’s Untitled (1982) sold at Christie’s Auction for $57.3 Million with premium. Japanese collector Koji Inoue bought the piece, beating out rival bidder Brett Gorvey. This marks the first time a Basquiat piece has eclipsed the 50 million dollar mark. After the intense bidding war ended, the room busted into a congratulatory applause for the artist.

Christie marled the overall night a success, selling over 87% of pieces up for auction and making over $380 Million. Most notably however, Andy Warhol’s Liz, a scree-printed portrait of Liz Taylor, was passed on entirely. It was interesting to see Untitled sell for so high and see Liz miss because often time the two artist are seen to have complementary styles.

Other important purchases are Richard Prince’s Runaway Nurse (2007) that sold for 9.7 million, Mark Rothko’s no.17 (1957) that sold for $32.6 Million and Christopher Wools’ And if You that sold for $13.6 Million.

This very strong showing bodes well for the impressionist, postwar contemporary art market. After the Sotheby’s sell rate of only 66% this is a strong comeback.

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Jelani Arthur Williamson

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