In his prime, Haitian-Puerto Rican artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was a social commentarian, a graffiti artist, and a multi-media painter who infamously dated Madonna before they both became pop culture icons. But ever since his tragic death from a heroin overdose at the age of 27, Basquiat’s work has been steadily growing in value and importance.
And there’s no greater evidence of that than the recent sale of the 1982 painting, “Warrior,” which just sold for $41.9 million at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong.
The New York Times broke the news about this latest Basquiat sale, which also revealed that this big-ticket price was the highest-ever paid for a Western artist in Asia.
Despite this impressive accomplishment, “Warrior” isn’t even Basquiat’s most valuable piece of artwork. That honor goes to “Untitled,” which was sold to Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa for $110 million in 2017. And nine out of 10 of the artist’s most expensive paintings were done in 1982.
But lest you think that Basquiat’s work can only be founding hanging in the homes of Japanese billionaires and various New York auction houses, the Brooklyn Nets also wore jerseys inspired by his art for the 2020-21 NBA season.
And, in a final bit of good news, the wealth generated from the sale of Basquiat’s work remains in the family, creating a legacy of Black generational wealth. From the day of Jean-Michel’s death, his estate was handled by his father, Gerard. When Gerard passed away in 2013, Basquiat’s estate was turned over to Jeanine Heriveaux and Lisane Basquiat, Jean-Michel’s sisters, who manage the estate to this day.