Lot 28
Lot Has Ended


Price Realised: USD 187500.00
Estimate : USD 80,000 - 120,000

wax crayon on paper
13 7/8 x 11 in. (35.2 x 28 cm.)
Drawn in 1980.


Diego Cortez, New York
Anon. sale; Christie's, London, 5 December 1986, lot 745
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

Lot Notes

“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.

The condition of lots can vary widely and the nature of the lots sold means that they are unlikely to be in a perfect condition. Lots are sold in the condition they are in at the time of sale.

The sheet is hinged to the backing board intermittently along the edges. Faint wear with associated discoloration is visible along the extreme edges. Soft creases are visible at the lower corners. Small spots of foxing are visible to the upper right and left quadrants and in the center of the image, just above the nose element. Minor spots of discoloration are visible infrequently. Please note this work is sold unframed.

Additional Charge Details

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