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$18M Basquiat & Warhol Masterpiece for auction at Sotheby’s this Spring.

$18M Basquiat & Warhol Masterpiece for auction at Sotheby’s.
The Basquiat-Warhol collaboration (1984) will highlight Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction COURTESY SOTHEBY’S

Get ready for a splash of 80s magic at Sotheby’s this May, as an enigmatic 1984 collaboration between Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat hits the auction floor. This untitled gem, unseen since its last Sotheby’s sale in 2010 for a cool $2.65 million, is poised to steal the spotlight with an estimated value of $18 million, marking a jaw-dropping sixfold surge in worth.

Part of the legendary alliance between two titans of the art world, these joint creations from 1984 to 1985 continue to captivate and divide. Critics once accused Warhol of riding Basquiat’s wave of fame, blending his consumerist icons with Basquiat’s gritty graffiti-inspired motifs. Yet, today, these collaborations bask in adoration, with recent showcases at esteemed venues like Paris’s Fondation Louis Vuitton and New York’s Brant Foundation.

Lucius Elliott, head of evening sales at Sotheby’s, declares this piece as the pinnacle of their partnership.

“By 1984, they had been working together for a year. They’d grown comfortable enough to push and pull on the canvas. Things were obliterated. Things were created. But both artists fully exist on the canvas, working in their different vernaculars of the same subject matter.”

While individual pieces may not command the astronomical sums of their creators’ solo works, Basquiat-Warhol collaborations possess a magnetic allure. The record-breaking $11.3 million sale in 2014 at Phillips underscores their enduring appeal, ensuring this upcoming Sotheby’s event will be one for the ages.

Modern Evening Auction, May 2024, Sotheby’s New York



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