While his work remains a constant in the cannon of artistic greats, Jean Michel-Basquiat rose to new heights after his painting sold for an astounding $110.5 million at a Sotheby’s auction on Thursday.
Basquiat’s 1982 painting, Untitled, was purchased by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa during a high-stakes bidding war at the international auction house in Europe.
Maezawa revealed his identity as the buyer in an instagram post, saying, “I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece. “When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible.”
Untitled broke a record previously held by Basquiat’s mentor Andy Warhol, whose Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), 1963, sold for $105 million at Sotheby’s in November 2013.
Basquiat died in from a heroin overdose in 1988 at age 27. But before his untimely death, the Brooklynite born to a Puerto Rican mother and Haitian-American father, rose to fame gaining notoriety as a prolific street artist.
His paintings explore the intersections of race, culture, gender and classism in society. In recent years, his work resurged as a pivotal voice in the movement for Black liberation.