Twice a year, during the fall and spring, fine art usurps the daily headlines with announcements of multi-million dollar paintings breaking world record auction prices. Each season, the art world holds its breath to see how the titans of art history will perform on the open floor of bidding. Typically, artists that have already been canonized as modern masters such as Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso monopolize the public’s attention. However, this past May, Jean-Michel Basquiat officially cemented himself in the exclusive club of the world’s most expensive artists.
After an intense bidding war, the Sotheby’s sale room was hushed as the hammer came down at an astounding $110.5 million for Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled from 1982. Basquiat’s violently expressionistic skull on a vibrant blue background, is now the sixth most expensive artwork ever sold at auction and one of only ten pieces that has ever surpassed the $100 million dollar mark. In fact, this piece practically doubles Basquiat’s previous auction record, set last year by his monumental devil painting, Untitled from 1982, which sold at Christie’s for $57.3 million.
In conjunction with this spectacular event, the lucky buyer Yusaku Maezawa, founder of the Contemporary Art Foundation and Japan’s fashion brand Zozotown, publicly announced his triumphant win. Just moments after the bidding came to an impressive halt and the auctioneer diligently recorded his paddle number, Maezawa revealed on Instagram that he was the new owner of this tremendous painting. This type of disclosure is an absolute rarity in the art world. Confidentiality is the cornerstone of the art market, and here at New York Loan Company we pride ourselves on granting our clients absolute privacy and discretion.
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