Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa Sells Basquiat Painting For $85 Million As Market For Artist’s Work Heats Up


Japanese e-commerce billionaire Yusaku Maezawa bought considered one of his Jean-Michel Basquiat work for $85 million together with charges at Phillips public sale home in New York on Tuesday, as the marketplace for the late New York artist’s work continues to surge a long time after his sudden loss of life at age 27.

Key Details

Standing at almost eight ft tall and greater than 16 ft extensive, the untitled portray is amongst Basquiat’s most monumental works and was accomplished in 1982, a turning level within the artist’s profession and a yr throughout which he accomplished a few of his best-known works.

Maezawa bought the portray in 2016 for $57 million, which was the most costly paintings by Basquiat to ever promote at public sale on the time.


Basquiat died in 1988, however his work has exploded in recognition over the previous yr: He was one of many best-selling artists at public sale final yr, and his work bought for greater than $400 million collectively. Basquiat’s artwork usually explored his id as a Black man residing within the U.S. and the problems that affected him. Certainly one of his work depicts Michael Stewart, a Black artist who was allegedly crushed to loss of life in 1983 by New York transit cops for spray portray graffiti in a subway station. The Black Lives Matter motion has pushed the artwork world and rich collectors to reexamine the work of artists of colour, together with Basquiat. Basquiat and his work have additionally been launched to a youthful era due to the collaborations his property–which is run by his mom and sisters–has constructed with main manufacturers together with Coach and Dr. Martens. Certainly one of his work was closely featured in a Tiffany jewellery commercial starring Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who has collected Basquiat’s work for years. Basquiat’s property opened a serious present in New York final month that was curated by his household and featured almost 200 works, most of which had by no means been seen by the general public.


Basquiat’s work isn’t essentially a positive wager at public sale. Final week, a uncommon triptych and sculpture by Basquiat have been mysteriously pulled from sale on the final minute by Christie’s, which stated each the vendor and the public sale home believed the market was not ready.

Huge Quantity

$1.7 billion. That’s how a lot Maezawa is value, based on Forbes’ real-time wealth tracker.

Key Background

Maezawa made his fortune by way of Zozotown, Japan’s largest on-line style mall, which he based in 1998. In 2019, he bought mother or father firm Zozo to Yahoo Japan for $3.7 billion and stepped down as CEO to make extra time for house journey, he stated. Maezawa made headlines final yr when he paid his approach to the Worldwide House Station, becoming a member of a rising variety of billionaires setting their sights on non-public house ventures. In 2018, Maezawa purchased the primary ticket on a flight across the moon with fellow billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX, slated for 2023.

Additional Studying

Basquiat Guidelines International Artwork World With Masterpiece Poised To Fetch $70 Million And Main Retrospective To Characteristic Uncommon Works (Forbes)

Right here’s Why 2021 Was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Yr, Many years After His Demise (Forbes)

Artwork Market Surpassed Pre-Pandemic Ranges In 2021 With $65 Billion In Gross sales, Report Says (Forbes)

Uncommon Jean-Michel Basquiat Portray Sells For $40 Million At Public sale (Forbes)

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