JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (1960-1988)
wax crayon on paper
13 7/8 x 11 in. (35.2 x 28 cm.)
Drawn in 1980.
“The erudition of this painter’s method, the physically gratifying use of material, combined with the emotional sonority of the glyphs, forced me to the conclusion that I was in the privileged position of discovering one of the foremost intellects of the century.” – Rene Ricard
Rendered with wax crayon on cream-colored paper, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled depicts two of the artist’s most prevalent and significant motifs: the human skull, pink and grimacing beside a tangled field of green, and a crooked ladder leading to nowhere. Drawn in 1980 when the artist was just 20 years old, Untitled is a vibrant prelude to the largescale paintings of menacing skulls, central to Basquiat’s most celebrated output in 1982. While many of the artist’s drawings from 1980 are spare, giving up large passages of their compositions to blank—sometimes trampled—paper, the present lot is fully worked, brimming with intensity and angst. Untitled exemplifies Basquiat’s intuitive approach to mark-making and his visceral preoccupation with mortality, its fearsome skull leering eternally from unblinking pinpoint eyes.
Diego Cortez, New York
Anon. sale; Christie's, London, 5 December 1986, lot 745
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
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