25 Feb 2021
"I don't think about art when I'm working. I try to think about life."
- Jean-Michel Basquiat
Head - Artist Proof, screen print on paper, 2001.
- Born in 1960 to a Haitian-Puerto Rican family in Brooklyn, Basquiat grew up at a time of deeply prevalent racism in American society. His experiences of marginalisation and racism profoundly impacted his work, which often referenced outsider cultures and critiqued politics as well as capitalism. King Brand, screen print on paper, 1982-1983/2019.
- Basquiat's interest in art started from a young age. When visiting museums he quickly noticed the subjects of Western art were almost exclusively white. He forcefully countered this imbalance in representation through his own work where he depicted his black idols and heroes (musicians, athletes, the artist himself) as the key figures in the work often accompanied with the artist's signature crown giving them a royal status. Flexible, screen print on paper, 1984/2016.
- The artist developed a distinct visual language from his early days which merged drawing, painting and writting. Among the most prevalent symbols of his works is the crown as well as the copyright symbol. He also often crossed out words as a means of drawing attention to them. Olympic, screen print on paper, 1982-1983/2017.
- At eight-years-old, Basquiat was hit by a car while playing in the street. Whilst recovering his mother brought him a copy of the medical textbook Gray’s Anatomy. The volume’s detailed anatomical drawings were eye opening to the young artist and sparked his interest in human anatomy, influencing how he later depicted bodies in his art. Ligaments of the Elbow, form Anatomy, screen print on paper, 1982.
- He met his friend and mentor Andy Warhol in 1981. Swiss dealer Bruno Bischofberger later suggested the two collaborate on a series of paintings, and between 1983 and 1985 the pair made works that layered Basquiat’s signature graffiti-like drawings over Warhol’s bright Pop imagery.
- In 2018, his painting 'Untitled' sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby's, New York. The result not only set a record for the artist, It was also a record price for an American artist at auction. Ascent, screen print on paper, 1982-1983/2017.
You can view all available works by Jean-Michel Basquiat