Basquiat painting fetches record $110.5M at New York auction


"When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art", Maezawa said in an Instagram post Thursday night.

Basquiat's works were known for their focus on African-American issues, wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience.

The price also put Basquiat, who died of a heroin overdose in 1988 aged 27, into the pantheon of such artists as Picasso, Giacommetti, Warhol and Francis Bacon, Barker noted.

The work was sold as part of Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening auction. "The painting will eventually be housed in a museum based in Mr. Maezawa's hometown of Chiba, Japan".

Cheers and applause greeted the sale, which nearly doubled the previous Basquiat auction record of $57 million.

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The sale, to 41-year-old e-commerce king Yusaku Maezawa, provided a crackling cap to New York's spring auctions, where sales exceeded expectations in many, but not all, categories. "I think it just speaks about the talent of this guy", said Gregoire Billault, Sotheby's head of contemporary art.

The subject of much of his work - ordeals endured by blacks in the United States - is finding renewed resonance in the wake of nationwide U.S. protests since 2014 about the shootings of unarmed black men by police.

The previous auction record for the artist was set last May when "Untitled, 1982" sold for $57.3 million, also to Maezawa. "He's bringing something never seen before". In total, $319.2million was spent on 50 lot items.

The large, untitled painting - done in acrylic, spray paint and oil stick on canvas, it is 72½ inches by 68½ inches - hadn't been shown in public since 1984, when a private collector purchased it at auction for $19,000.