His market value auction success has only risen over the years.
Basquiat's artwork has become increasingly valuable over the past 40 years, making it an appealing investment to many collectors. His auction records have been repeatedly broken, with some of his works selling for tens of millions of dollars. The rise in prices demonstrates a growing demand and market confidence in the artist's long-term investment potential. In 2017, his painting 'Untitled' sold for a record-breaking $110.5 million at Sotheby's, making it one of the most expensive artworks by an American artist ever sold. While other sales have not yet surpassed this record, they have come close, with 'In This Case' selling for $93.1 million at Christie's in 2021 and another 'Untitled' selling for $85 million at Phillips in 2022.
The market for Basquiat's editions has also experienced significant growth in the past five years, with an increase of over 20%. In the last year, the total sales value of Basquiat editions has reached almost £4 million, with an average sale price of £127,000. These figures indicate a strong and active market for Basquiat's works, making them a valuable investment for collectors interested in building a valuable collection over time.
Cabeza – $107,950
Sold at Sotheby’s in May 2023 for 25% over the high estimate.
“At that point, [an artist] was somebody who could draw, but my ideas have changed since then. Now I see an artist as something a lot broader than that.” – Basquiat
Untitled (Sketch) – $81,250
Sold at Heritage Auction in May 2023 for 10 times above its high estimate.
He has had a profound influence on contemporary artists and art market trends.
There is no doubt of Basquiat's significant impact on subsequent generations of artists. His distinct style and use of symbols, and his masterful ability to blend graffiti and street art with fine art have influenced many subsequent generations of artists.
His unique style, which seamlessly blends elements of graffiti and street art with fine art, was truly groundbreaking. Basquiat's use of symbols was particularly masterful and continues to inspire artists to this day. His influence is global – from Banksy’s Basquiat murals that appeared in London’s Barbican Center in 2017, to Australia’s indigenous artist Gordon Bennett, who created a series of works titled Notes to Basquiat in the late 1990s.
Over the past four decades, there has been a growing interest in contemporary and urban art, and Basquiat's expressive style has undoubtedly contributed to this trend. His work remains highly relevant and continues to captivate future generations of collectors. As a result, Basquiat has become a prominent figure in this market, attracting investors who are eager to be a part of this growing trend.
Gordon Bennett, Notes to Basquiat: Boogieman Blues 1999, acrylic on linen
© The Estate of Gordon Bennett
Banksy mural featuring Basquiat, 2017
Banksquiat (Grey) - Signed
- Screen print on paper
- Edition of 300
- Signed and numbered by the artist
- 70cm x 70cm
- This artwork was purchased directly from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the certificate of authenticity will be sent to the purchaser when received from Pest Control.
Released in 2019 as part of Banksy’s Gross Domestic Product installation in Croydon town centre, Banksquiat is one of the last prints produced by Banksy to date. Featuring Basquiat’s trademark crowns as ferris wheel carriages, the original first appeared at the West Bank’s Walled-Off hotel before being recreated as a street work near the Barbican at the time of its exhibition, Boom For Real. The piece is described on the Gross Domestic Product website as 'cleverly questioning the relentless commodification of Basquiat in recent times – by crassly adding to the relentless commodification of Basquiat in recent times'.
He is historically significant in the art world and widely institutionally recognised.
Self-taught and hailing from Haitian and Puerto Rican roots, Basquiat made significant strides in the predominantly white art world during the 1980s. His art language and social commentary continue to resonate with audiences today, elevating him to the status of a cultural icon. Basquiat has been widely recognised as an important figure in contemporary art history, particularly in the Neo-Expressionist movement of the 1980s. His art has been showcased and collected by esteemed institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art. These institutions meticulously curate exhibitions, publish scholarly catalogues, and dedicate resources to studying and preserving Basquiat's legacy. The recognition he has received from such renowned establishments further amplifies the allure of his art to potential investors.
Basquiat at work in his New York studio
He is culturally relevant.
Basquiat's art is renowned for its ability to explore and illuminate societal issues, particularly those related to identity and race. His use of symbols and visual language has made an indelible impact on cultural representation and the ongoing struggle for racial justice.
His influence extends far beyond the art world, with his work finding a home in music, fashion, and film. Numerous musicians, including The Strokes, K-Rob vs. Rammellzee's, and The Offs, have incorporated his artwork into their album covers, while fashion brands like Coach and Uniqlo have collaborated with Basquiat's estate to produce clothing lines. Celebrities such as Beyoncé & Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio have also publicly endorsed and collected Basquiat's art, further increasing its popularity and investment value.
This interdisciplinary appeal has led to heightened market demand and investment value for Basquiat's pieces, attracting investors who recognise the potential for increased exposure and demand. Given the continued relevance of his art in the context of contemporary cultural conversations, it seems certain that interest in his work will remain sustained and that Basquiat's art will continue to be highly sought after by collectors who value artwork that engages with significant societal issues.
The New Abnormal by The Strokes 2020 | Beat Bop by Rammellzee vs K Rob 1983 | First Record by The Offs 1984
The estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat
The scarcity of his works raises value.
The untimely death of Basquiat has resulted in limited availability of his original artworks. This scarcity has boosted the value and desirability of his pieces among collectors and investors. Over time, the scarcity has only increased, making his works even more sought after. It is clear that Basquiat's legacy will continue to inspire and captivate art lovers for many years to come.
“If you wanna talk about influence, man, then you’ve got to realise that influence is not influence. It’s simply someone’s idea going through my new mind.”
Read more in our investment series
4 May 2023 | 8 min read
Discover five reasons why investing in Tracey Emin's works can be a smart move for art collectors and investors alike. As one of the most significant artists of our time, Emin is critically and commercially successful and her pieces resonate and challenge emotionally. Here are our key insights on how and why to make informed investments in her work.
16 Mar 2023 | 5 min read
Humble, passionate and accomplished, Derrick Adams is committed to being a Black joy artist. His subtle philosophy of depicting Black figures and faces in states of "just being" is a proven hit with collectors and investors alike. Continue reading to find out five reasons to be investing in Adams' work.
1 Sep 2023 | 3 min read
7 Aug 2023 | 4 min read
3 Aug 2023 | 5 min read
25 Jul 2023 | 5 min read
24 Jul 2023 | 3 min read
20 Jun 2023 | 2 min read
19 Jun 2023 | 4 min read
19 Jun 2023 | 7 min read
12 Jun 2023 | 4 min read