Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled from 1982 will lead Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening auction in New York on May 18. This monumental work has remained virtually unseen since it last appeared on the market in May 1984. At the time the work was completed he was virtually unknown to the art world. Purchased at auction for $19,000 in 1984 it is now estimated to make in excess of $60 million.
It is one of a number of iconic American post-war paintings in a sale that also features Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly, as well as European masters including David Hockney, Rudolf Stingel and Gerhard Richter.
Grégoire Billault, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department in New York, commented: “It is an enormous pleasure to bring a Basquiat of this magnitude to the market. The scale, subject matter, date and freshness, combined with recent record prices and increased demand for the artist’s work, make May the ideal time to present a masterpiece of this caliber – a truly outstanding achievement of recent art history – to the market.”