A Jean-Michel Basquiat painting has become the most expensive work of art from a US artist to be sold at auction.
The untitled painting of a skull was purchased by a private collector for $19,000 in 1984. On Thursday, May 18th, it sold for $110.5 million to Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.
The good news is that Maezawa has purchased the artwork with the intent to display it in a range of museums, before making it a permanent fixture in a museum of his own creation.
“I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece,” said Maezawa on Instagram. “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.”
A post shared by Yusaku Maezawa (@yusaku2020) on
Yusaku Maezawa has made a name for himself with a range of lucrative endeavors ranging from rock star and fashion icon to tech guru. In a recent CNN profile, the billionaire outlines his interest in modern art, which he started collecting a little over a decade ago. It is his intent to create a brand new museum in his native Japan.
“But before then, I wish to loan this piece — which has been unseen by the public for more than 30 years — to institutions and exhibitions around the world,” he said in a statement quoted by The New York Times. “I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations.”
— Yusaku Maezawa 前澤友作 (@yousuck2020) 19 May 2017
The record-breaking sale means that Basquiat has beaten his mentor, Andy Warhol, in attaining the title of the most expensive painting ever sold. It also doubles the price that the last auctioned Basquiat painting reached; a painting that was also bought by Maezawa.