New York City, US, May 11 (EFE).- A painting by Haitian-American Jean-Michel Basquiat reached $93.1 million on Tuesday at a Christie’s auction in New York, almost double the price the auction house had estimated it to sell for.
The sale of “In This Case” started at $40 million, but it took less than 10 seconds to rise to $50 million, the price that Christie’s had estimated for the piece, the undisputed star of the 21st Century art sale.
The fight for the painting lasted about 10 minutes, as a bidding war broke out between three phone buyers, which raised the hammer price to $81 million, a figure that reached $93.1 million when fees and commissions were added.
The 1983 large red work of 197.8 x 187.3 cm is dominated by one of the famous skulls of the late artist, who died at the age of 27 in 1988.
The painting has now become the second most expensive work of Basquiat sold at auction, only behind another of the artist’s enormous skulls, “Untitled” (1982), which was sold in 2017 for $110 million in a Sotheby’s auction and that set a record price for a work by the American.
“In This Case” is the last of a series of three skull paintings that Basquiat painted in 1983. It was owned by Valentino co-founder Giancarlo Giammetti, and was included in the retrospective organized by the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris.
Basquiat’s second work to be sold at auction on Tuesday was “Untitled (Soap),” which did not reach the maximum estimate of $15 million that Christie’s had expected, and was sold at $13.1 million after slow bidding.
British street artist Banksy also did not exceed Christies’ estimates, and his work “Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge,” featuring three monkeys with posters displaying the same message, was sold for $2.07 million, slightly above the $2 million minimum expected but far from the $3 million maximum.
Also warmly received was one of Louise Bourgeois’ “Spider V,” a steel sculpture just over half a meter high that fetched $5.5 million, within Christie’s estimate of between $4-6 million. EFE