A Japanese collector of art paid $110.5 million for a painting by American artist Jean-Michel Basquet that was initially estimated to fetch $60 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York. In India rupees, applying an exchange rate of ₹64.80, it translates to a staggering ₹716 crores.
This is the highest ever price paid at the auction for an artwork created post 1980, apart from being the sixth highest price for any artwork sold at auction. With this sale, Basquiat also enters that pantheon of artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Giacometti, whose works have crossed the $100-million mark.
Yusaku Maezawa, an entrepreneur, purchased the untitled painting depicting a skull after a 10-minute bidding war. He declared his acquisition to much excitement on his Instagram handle.
The painting, which was made in 1982 when the artist was only 21, hasn't been seen in public for more than three decades. It will be eventually on display at the museum Maezawa is building in his hometown Chiba, but until then, he plans to loan it out to institutions and exhibitions around the world.
"When I saw this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art," he said in a statement. "I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me, and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations."
Basquiat, who died in 1988 of a heroine overdose at the age of 27, was born of a Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother in New York. In spite of his brief life, he was acclaimed for his politically motivated art. He spoke out against colonialism, racism and for class struggle.
Also on HuffPost