Jean-Michel Basquiat’s explosive tour de force, Untitled, 1982, will lead Christie’s sale of post war and contemporary art in New York on May 10. It is estimated to make more than of $40 million. Executed in Modena, Italy this is an epic painting, with its monumental size and visceral energy marking it as one of the artist’s most seminal works. As well as having been chosen for the cover of the artist’s Catalogue Raisonné, Untitled has been included in every major Basquiat retrospective and contains Basquiat’s heroic portrait of himself as a fiery black devil rising amidst an explosion of paint that has been thrown onto the canvas in the manner of Jackson Pollock. It is the dynamism and spontaneity with which Basquiat constructs his painterly surface that distinguishes this work as a masterpiece, especially considering this ambitious work was painted when the artist was only 22 years old.
Brett Gorvy, Christie’s International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “We are very proud to lead our evening sale with this truly exceptional work by Basquiat. Untitled is a remarkably powerful canvas, which instantly engulfs any viewer standing in its monumental presence. Untitled is among the top three paintings from the tremendously important body of work that the artist executed in 1982 while in Modena, Italy, which would go on to shape the rest of his career”.