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Jean-Michel Basquiat

American, 1960–1988

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Jean-Michel Basquiat

American, 1960–1988

165,196
Followers
Biography

A poet, musician, and graffiti prodigy in late-1970s New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat had honed his signature painting style of obsessive scribbling, elusive symbols and diagrams, and mask-and-skull imagery by the time he was 20. “I don’t think about art while I work,” he once said. “I think about life.” Basquiat drew his subjects from his own Caribbean heritage—his father was Haitian and his mother of Puerto Rican descent—and a convergence of African-American, African, and Aztec cultural histories with Classical themes and contemporary heroes like athletes and musicians. Often associated with Neo-expressionism, Basquiat received massive acclaim in only a few short years, showing alongside artists like Julian Schnabel, David Salle, and Francesco Clemente. In 1983, he met Andy Warhol, who would come to be a mentor and idol. The two collaborated on a series of paintings before Warhol’s death in 1987, followed by Basquiat’s own untimely passing a year later.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Auction
High auction record
$110m, Sotheby's, 2017
User
Solo show at a major institution
Serpentine Galleries, and 6 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 15 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Whitney Biennial, and 1 more
Biography

A poet, musician, and graffiti prodigy in late-1970s New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat had honed his signature painting style of obsessive scribbling, elusive symbols and diagrams, and mask-and-skull imagery by the time he was 20. “I don’t think about art while I work,” he once said. “I think about life.” Basquiat drew his subjects from his own Caribbean heritage—his father was Haitian and his mother of Puerto Rican descent—and a convergence of African-American, African, and Aztec cultural histories with Classical themes and contemporary heroes like athletes and musicians. Often associated with Neo-expressionism, Basquiat received massive acclaim in only a few short years, showing alongside artists like Julian Schnabel, David Salle, and Francesco Clemente. In 1983, he met Andy Warhol, who would come to be a mentor and idol. The two collaborated on a series of paintings before Warhol’s death in 1987, followed by Basquiat’s own untimely passing a year later.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Auction
High auction record
$110m, Sotheby's, 2017
User
Solo show at a major institution
Serpentine Galleries, and 6 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 15 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Whitney Biennial, and 1 more
Shows Featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat
Articles Featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat
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Jul 14th, 2020
5 Artists to Follow If You Like Basquiat
Why Basquiat’s Heads Are His Most Sought-After Works
Jul 9th, 2020
Why Basquiat’s Heads Are His Most Sought-After Works
Titus Kaphar and Amoako Boafo Works Star in Phillips’s Sold-Out Virtual Evening Auction
Jul 3rd, 2020
Titus Kaphar and Amoako Boafo Works Star in Phillips’s Sold-Out Virtual Evening Auction
10 In-Demand Works on Artsy This Week
Jun 9th, 2020
10 In-Demand Works on Artsy This Week
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