A 1982 painting by iconic artist Jean Michel Basquiat sold for a record $110.5 million at a Sotheby’s auction in NYC on Thursday.

The untitled painting of a skull is the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction by a U.S. artist.

Basquiat’s Untitled skull also holds the distinction of being the priciest artwork ever sold by a black artist. The previous record was held by Basquiat’s friend Andy Warhol.

Untitled is the sixth most expensive painting sold in the world.

The winning bid was placed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who posted an Instagram photo of his prized painting on Thursday.

“I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece,” he wrote in the caption. “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.”

The bidding war lasted for 10 minutes. Yusaku’s art collection includes another Basquiat painting which he purchased for $57 million.

Basquiat died of a heroin overdose in 1988 at age 27.





  • SuperScooper1

    I saw this on France24 this morning and it makes me a little sad…Jean-Michel had such a tragic life/death…He was such a complicated man with a streak for self-hatred. Too bad the proceeds don’t go to his remaining family left in Brooklyn.

  • Dr.Rue

    Soo young when he did this painting and now its selling for 100s of millions. Basqiat died too young. Most artists are depressed though – art for them is therapy.

  • Kanyade

    Gone to soon. I remember my first exposure to Basquiat was a film starring Jeffery Wright and Jean-Michel and David Bowie as Andy Warhol. Good performance. Great artist.

  • http://www.missjhaneuniverse.com Monday

    His family is not getting anything?

  • stav

    EXACTLY!

  • Mbailey

    BACK when I used to paint like that; I was laughed at and told to go back to art school. All one has to have is a famous white hipster patron who is willing to shop along skid row and profit off of the talent of the hopeless.

  • imright

    Basquiat another victim of the 27 club ?

  • stav

    Art is in the eye of the beholder and buyer , so I really don’t care about opportunist taking advantage of a strung out artist. If it doesn’t benefit” them” they really don’t care, and his family will not benefit from the greed of others. They only love you( fake love of course) when there is money to be made off of you! His art however was very abstract and complex( I do not pretend to be a connoisseur, but I do like abstracts) it certainly reflects the madness going on in an altered mind .

  • Julia Lyons

    I was reading comnents and the Sprites are up in arms that a Negro reached this pinnacle????

  • Julia Lyons

    No….this painting was owned by someone who paid a few thousands for it.. now they are filthy rich????

  • SuperScooper1

    The family are not the sellers. Jean-Michel had a “complicated” family life with upper middle class parents that wanted him to do something more stable as a career. (He was also resentful that his parents got a divorce and other alleged man-child shenanigans.) He gave away A LOT of art to his white “friends” who were also enablers his heroin habit who turned around and sold the art as SOON as he died. Complicated man, complicated history, great artist, no wealth kept in the community.

    Good news is that Kerry James Marshall and Kara Walker know better and are trying to make sure they keep the money and art they make, not just give it away. Sorry for the history lesson but we need to know the history.

  • Scromes1212

    Don’t think this brother would have been ok with this. 100 million and its people out here starving smh not what this brother was about.

  • stav

    Not really though, cause it’s not like any blacks are benefiting from this black mans work, or the astronomical amount of money paid for his work. So they don’t care, blk or white, green is what talks, and they make sure to benefit from whomever is capable of making that green.

  • stav

    Love , love , love Kara Walker!

  • NeverSurprised

    How is his family not benefiting when his sisters, Jeanine Heriveaux and Lisane Basquiat , are the administrators of his estate, and up until his death a few years ago his father Gerald was the administrator, so they are clearly benefitting financially. I’m guessing his former patrons are also getting a share, but his estate is clearly benefitting financially.

    https://bossip.com/1192940/bossip-exclusive-jean-michel-basquiats-sisters-sue-shady-company-hawking-postcards-with-late-artists-work/

  • Julia Lyons

    In the sense of what it could possibly mean for other Black artists, this is a pretty big deal. Many of the comments were White unknown artists feeling as though they are a better artist than Basquiat.

  • We Can Do This

    Never heard of dude but willing to learn about his passion.

    A master mind undoubtedly created a masterpiece. Salute to the brother.

  • Scromes1212

    He is a graffiti artist from the 80’s

  • http://olskoolblackflix.com Prof. Taco Juice

    There’s a 1990’s biopic called Basquiat and the late David Bowie plays Andy Warhol.

  • We Can Do This

    This makes him legendary.

  • SuperScooper1

    Me too…

  • NeverSurprised

    His family isn’t benefitting from resales by private sellers (such as here), but his sisters Jeanine and Lisane are administrators of his estate and have entered into licensing deals for the rights on some of the works on which they hold the copyrights. They are not making in the hundreds of millions, but they are making something, plus the sisters are getting their administratrix fees.

    I love his work and think it’s such a shame that he died so young and was so troubled, but most famous artists died broke and depressed. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime for what, in today’s dollars, would be $109.

  • Scromes1212

    Short answer is yes lol when your the best to ever do what you do then that would make you a legend within that community. In my humble opinion

  • We Can Do This

    Who was the previous owner of this painting?

  • NeverSurprised

    In the art world, Basquiat is indisputably a legend. His name as as well known as Picasso and Rembrandt.

  • stav

    Who in the art world alive makes this kind of money with the exception of Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst , and a few others . I understand where you’re coming from , however most artist get to this level after death( and those after death are few, that gets to this level), and those who control that art forum just like many other forums(all the arts, etc) are ALWAYS going to make sure “they” are ahead , no matter if the talent is there or not!

  • atll9979

    How ironic he was so anti materialistic and now his art is the ultimate purchase for someone materialistic.

  • hotntot95

    Art will fix your soul..
    I’m a art ho and proud of it…?

  • Scromes1212

    Exactly.

  • tintin

    Oh man I now wish I never threw away my 5 year old son’s school art. I would have been a millionaire

  • Coy little wink

    Art collectors are materialistic?

  • leapyearpisces

    Is that the one that Jeffrey Wright plays Basquiat?

  • DaughterOfaQueen

    It’s dope!

  • Queen of EVERYTHING

    My Sophomore year of college I took an Art Appreciate class… Our instructor was SUPER into the classical impressionist artists and assigned our final exam paper to cover the life of a classical artist in a new and inspiring way. I struggled for weeks to “break the rules” because I wanted to write about Basquiat. In the end I went with my gut and used the opportunity to be a teaching moment for my professor. I wrote an 8 page passionate essay about Basquiat in the most intimate prose to convey my love of his work and his worthiness to be admired just as “the classics” are. I got a 100 on that final exam paper and it is still the most prideful piece of work I’ve ever composed as a student.

  • SuperScooper1

    I wish I knew.

  • Queen of EVERYTHING

    He only “sold” his work to the couple that sponsored him and even then it was an amount to only help him attain the bare necessities… It’s crazy how and for how much his work sells for now. He was so proud of being a “starving artist” working under his own inspirations and terms.

  • SuperScooper1

    Thanks so much for the info. It’s heartening to know at least something is going to the family.

  • leapyearpisces

    I keep saying I am going to put my ugly azz painting of a Christmas Tree when I went to my homegirl’s wine and design birthday party in December, on Ebay, and title it like something like “an original painting by the up and coming famous artist leapyear”. I keep telling folks if I finesse it right I probably could get a good thousand, because while I love art, a lot of art lovers are “pretentious” and its about who can get what first, or who can have an original of this first and the artist blows up, etc. LOLOLOLOL, and TRUST me y’all that ole painting of my Christmas tree is UGLY enough that it MIGHT just work. LOLOLOLOLOL

  • SuperScooper1

    The rights to minor works as well as any money from t-shirts and merchandise is just pennies compared to what Peter Brant and others made from buying his works dirt cheap and watching them gain value. I understand what you’re saying, but it’s still peanuts compared to how much money everyone BUT the family is making from his life’s work.

  • Scromes1212

    So true smh in a way it’s sad when you think about it.

  • Sexy CJ
  • Sexy CJ
  • http://olskoolblackflix.com Prof. Taco Juice

    Yep

  • Yoni7

    Many of the comments were White unknown artists feeling as though they are a better artist than Basquiat.
    __________________
    Of COURSE they did. They always do. And I bet my lights that they always take some/one element of his work and try to incorporate it into theirs. I call those type of folks; secret lovers.

  • Yoni7

    So sad.

  • Tynamight

    I don’t like things w/ skulls on them but I can appreciate Baquiat’s genius.

  • Tynamight

    “art ho” … explain that please…

  • ThisHarryHere

    and a lot of art is about bullshittng your way through a meaning. it can be so fake deep. Now if only i could work through this block and put same paint to canvas…

  • ThisHarryHere

    Sweet.

  • Quitedeliteful

    I’m just not getting it… I don’t like it at all… This particular piece doesn’t resonate with my spirit…

  • http://www.missjhaneuniverse.com Monday

    Who get the money???

  • Sexy CJ

    I agree…….I Am Not A Lover Of His Particular Style Of Artwork As It Can Be Very Dark……Cynical…..&……Obsessive Scribbling……But I Do Admire The Expression Of Beautiful Art In General………

  • the guest

    LOVE JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT.

    Yusaku is a very blessed man to own this magnificent Basquiat.

  • the guest

    Basquiat’s estate is managed by Basquiat’s family.

  • NeverSurprised

    Good for you!!! ?

  • T Kenny

    i wonder what he sees when he looks at it. not trying to be shady or funny but genuinely curious. must mean something to him. thats a lot of money

  • Wreckognize Game

    That is the Audacity of Prejudice and the Audacity of Privilege.
    1. Privileged thinking – they should be doing better than a deceased Black artist.
    2. Prejudiced thinking -Why because it’s a Black artist.
    The same way these fools down here were hanging out at these confederate monuments trying to block them from removal. Privilege thinking it’s their family legacy so it doesn’t matter. Prejudice-Blacks should get over it. Trump same thing, privilege- it’s a witch hunt against him.
    Prejudice- Trump on a witch hunt asking for Pres Obama’s birth certificate knowing he was born in US.

  • Birdman24

    He doesn’t collect art as a hobby it is his job. He is an collector so the painting just adds to his net worth. He is only 41 so 10 years from now he will sell it for 500m

  • Coffee1st

    As much as I love beautiful things, I don’t get Art. Give me the sunset, a starry night or a full moon…..I could just stare at them for hours ?????
    #GodIsTHEMasterArtist

  • leapyearpisces

    I hate creative blocks. I am a technical writer by trade, but a creative writer by night (LOL), and I started on this teen novel that I KNOW is going to blow if I can finish it (I wrote it with already knowing either Disney or Nickelodeon will pick it up for a movie). I think the last time I touched it was in February. I am not really having a block, I am just unmotivated. After working all day, going to WORK OUT, picking up the kids from THEIR activities, cooking, washing clothes, etc. I can’t muster up the motivation to get back on it.

  • http://ivyleaguelove.tumblr.com/ Applebootay

    so who gets the money?

  • Quitedeliteful

    I could look at the moon all night — especially when it is bright and full…

  • KcoolMuziq
  • TheWildChild

    Awesome ? of you!

  • Tee Tee

    It’s an investment, you are so right

  • Guess Who

    WTF

  • Yardgirl

    Exactly what I was thinking.

  • cheechee1x1

    I guess the artist was on hallucinogens when he painted that ugly skull. Paintings of nature work just fine for me.

  • Buttercupdreamsmom

    $110 million??? MEANWHILE, I’m in student loan debt, finding a swcwnf job is scarce, the orange guy is our president, people are starving in the world, people are killing innocent kids and Satan is roaming the earth!!!!!

    #richpeopleproblems

  • hotntot95

    Will go to extremes for art work..I use to paint, and I still draw ..and I love oil pastels, water color art..etc…

  • Canary Red™

    He work was/is extraordinary! Remarkable!

    https://www.wikiart.org/en/jean-michel-basquiat

  • BlackFeeMale

    Do wat ya do spend how ya like but a regular schmegular chick like myself sees a freakin mess………aunty who pockets the money once sold? Also how is worth determined on a painting?

  • BlackFeeMale

    Sorry i feel like alot of art is bullshiiii. It keeps the selected rich richer meanwhile a fuckin brand new car depreciates with value once driven off the lot…..i went to the goodwill came UP on a portrait of starry night about 4feet by 5 feet. paid 4 bucks. Glass, frame and all. LOVE IT!! Now would I feel different if it was the original..maybe but id also probably have a few bodyguards…

  • Malcom Flex

    why blue eyes doe?

  • KcoolMuziq

    Prince’s eyes was hazel so on any given day the color varied.

  • stanley

    The family sold the painting for $20,000 to an art’s dealer. And then they turned around and sold it for $110 million. It’ sad. This is just another case of an African American Family getting exploited, they won’t get any of that money.

  • stav

    They were Never blue, varied coloring or not!

  • Tena

    If this dude has this kind of money to blow, I am about to reach out to him on Instagram and ask for some money. lol

  • Enoughsaid2020

    They have starving people in their country, and the world. SMH!

  • rere

    I can draw some scribble scrabble since hr likes to waste money

  • TooMuchTea

    Ouch!! Happens every time.

  • Dane

    Hmm…i have hazel eyes. I’ve had plenty of people think they’re blue sometimes. Hazel eyes are like mood rings. ?

  • Allihave2say

    They should have sold It on consignment or contingency. My people perish for the lack of knowledge.

  • Dane

    I know art is subjective and personal but I, personally, wouldn’t call this a win. It’s ugly.

  • Rob

    Or…another case of selling yourself short—literally!

  • Crazy tee

    It’s about time!!!!!??

  • dontgetblocked

    Me too. Like for real.

  • dontgetblocked

    His father was an accountant and was worth 45 million dollars when he died several years ago.

  • Julia Lyons

    BOERUM HILL — The father of art phenom Jean-Michel Basquiat died this summer, leaving behind a treasure trove of his late son’s work — and an ongoing IRS audit that has frozen any movement on the pricey paintings, DNAinfo New York has learned.

    Gerard Basquiat passed away at 77 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on July 7.

    A will filed Aug. 13 in Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court showed that he had an estimated $45 million estate, one largely composed of valuable art by his son.

    The will does not itemize each piece of art in the collection, but offers tantalizing glimpses.

  • dontgetblocked

    His work like an insane druggie drew it. Oh that’s right. He was an insane druggie. I haven’t seen a Bisquait drawing I like. I just think he became a phenom. It just looks like he shot some heroine and scribbled like a three year old. It doesn’t help that he didn’t like black women.

  • Jussjess25

    Exactly

  • Jussjess25

    A piece of junk ?

  • KcoolMuziq

    Exactly! Thank U. I have hazel eyes also. Mood rings are a GREAT example! They’re sum hating peeps on this site. Including the editor.

  • Dane

    I try to see the other side of things when I read others’ thoughts and opinions but I wonder WHY so hateful sometimes? Makes no sense. Differing opinions keep things interesting but the hate & name calling is ridiculous w/ people you don’t even know.

  • Bonny

    I can dig it.

  • Bonny

    Free your mind.

  • Nessa

    Correction!! Because black women did like him!!

  • Nessa

    Ask in Japanese

  • Nessa

    Not a dime

  • Patricia

    hell i, too, am about to be rich (pulls out my kids’ crayola paint and markers…)

  • Hmmm~?

    Stop it. It’s not exploitation if they chose to sell it for that price. No one forced them. Stop infantilizing black people just to push your inane eternal victim narrative.

  • ThisHarryHere

    Oh, I feel you on that. Its like life drains the motivation out of you. Some moments i’m full of ideas and I’m painting or drawing up a storm, then others I’m like, where’s the juice.
    Anyhoo, good luck on the book. I would love to see how that goes.

  • Tena

    Great idead! Let me find that translator app. lol

  • leapyearpisces

    Yep, and thanks. Same to you. By the way, what do you paint / draw?

  • KIm

    Umm alrighty then. Maybe I should get high as a kite and start throwing paint around on a canvas..

  • stanley

    They didn’t pay for the full price of the painting based on the Fair Market Value. It’s like taking advantage of uneducated people who don’t know any better.

  • stanley

    Who was worth 45 million? lol Basquiait father? His father was Haitian and was poor.

  • monique

    Does Basquiat’s family, if there are any relatives, receive any of the profit?

  • Jheri Curl

    No. The sale is split between the last owner and the auction company. Basquiat lost all future claims to the work when it was originally sold.

  • ThisHarryHere

    Hmm, Character based, i guess. like, hmm. I’m not sure. You can see my sketches on my sketch ig account @theharriedartist

  • leapyearpisces

    You are very talented. Your delirium from endless speaks to the Pisces in me. LOL. I can TOTALLY see your character pieces on t-shirts. Can totally see Lil Wayne rocking a Tshirt with the face of your characters. You need to start a line. I can see folk easily spending 30.00-40.00 easy, maybe more if it gets a celebrity following, and I am not blowing smoke up your azz either. I wish I could draw. Anyway, keep it up, and good luck. 🙂

  • Storm’s Rage!

    God, can you imagine buying his works in the early 80s for less than a $100. Only to have it worth millions after he died.

  • Storm’s Rage!

    lol. stupid. But theres something about his paintings that is just sick. I love his work.

  • Storm’s Rage!

    HATER!

  • KIm

    I don’t know. I guess I just don’t see it but it seems as though a lot of people do…but who am I? Lol

  • ThisHarryHere

    HA!!! Sweet, Thanks. Most people like death, i’ve always been a fan of Delirium. I haven’t even thought about putting those designs on apparel but that is something to think about.