Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Anatomy: 18 prints’, 1982, Sotheby's

Property from a Private Collector

Each sheet is signed in pencil. Numbered [1-18]/2 on the verso, from the edition of 18 (total edition includes seven artist's proofs), on Arches 88 wove paper, printed by Jo Watanabe, New York, published by Annina Nosei Gallery, New York, framed (18 prints).

images: 755 by 559 mm 29 5/8 by 22 in
sheets: 762 by 565 mm 30 by 22 1/4 in

From the Catalogue:
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Anatomy is the artist’s first portfolio of prints and it distills many of the thematic qualities that define the artist’s early work. The series was created shortly after his inaugural solo exhibition, organized by the Annina Nosei Gallery in March of 1982. Nosei provided the artist with a studio in the basement of her gallery, where Anatomy was conceived.

Anatomy encapsulates Basquiat’s fascination with the human form and the written word. Beginning in early 1981, the artist produced hundreds of drawings and paintings depicting skulls and skeletons. Gianni Mercurio attributes the origins of his interest in anatomical forms to a particular incident, writing, “His childhood was rich source for many of the recurrent figures in his works, often drawn from texts such as Gray’s Anatomy, which was a gift from his mother while he was in the hospital after being hit by a car at the age of seven” (Gianni Mercurio, “The Moon King,” in Exh. Cat. Fondazione La Triennale de Milano, The Jean Michel Basquiat Show, p. 25). The portfolio conveys the artist’s profound attention to the technical functioning of the body, illustrating skulls, femurs, elbows, scapula, and pelvises, all rendered in white lines, set against a black background, evocative of an x-ray. Each body part is labeled, as it would be in a medical textbook. The incorporation of these notations into the compositions also signals the artist’s abiding interest in the intersection of language and visual forms. Richard Marshall notes, “What gives Basquiat’s works their special appeal is the fact that the words and symbols that he uses function almost like a code, serving to conceal various themes such as political, social or racial problems” (Richard Marshall quoted in Taka Kawachi, ed., King for a Decade: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tokyo 1997, p. 73). The viewer must look closely to decipher the fragmented bodies and esoteric language and determine whether their depiction might have some latent meaning.
—Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

About Jean-Michel Basquiat

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.

American, 1960-1988, New York, New York, based in New York, New York