Basquiat painting fetches record $110.5M at New York auction

Basquiat painting fetches record $110.5M at New York auction

A Japanese entrepreneur is taking home Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Untitled" from Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction in NY on Thursday for a staggering price tag of $110,487,500.

Sotheby's had valued the work at more than $60 million and guaranteed the seller an undisclosed minimum price regardless of the bidding at the auction. A tense bidding war lasted for around 10 minutes between a client in Sotheby's NY showroom and another on the telephone, with the telephone buyer ultimately clinching the top bid.

A record price has been set for an American artist at an auction yesterday and it has the world talking. "When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art".

Jean-Michel Basquiat has joined the select group of artists whose works have sold for more than $100 million. During bidding, the auctioneer offered occasional moments of levity and encouragement.

Basquiat died of a drug overdose in 1988 at age 27.

The buyer was billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, founder of a Japanese fashion website, and a new force in contemporary art. It was originally bought by her mother and father for $19,000 in 1984, reports Bloomberg.

True to his word, the 41 year old intends to loan his latest artwork to museums around the world, before eventually giving it permanent residence in a museum he plans to establish in his hometown of Chiba.

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The house parted with a total of $319 million worth of post-war and contemporary art at Thursday's evening auction, one day after rival Christie's sold $448 million at its own version of the same sale. The work led four days of bellwether auctions in NY where the world's wealthiest investors and families dropped more than $1.5 billion on Impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art.

"I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece", Maezawa wrote on Instagram. "He's bringing something never seen before". "It's as simple as that".

"We are thrilled that it was purchased by Yusaku Maezawa for his planned museum so others will have a chance to experience its magic firsthand", said Billault.

Sotheby's concludes its week of sales on Friday.

This isn't the first Basquiat to enter the collection of Maezawa, who also founded the Tokyo-based Contemporary Art Foundation.

Gregoire Billaut is the auction company's head of modern art.

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