Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ghostly portrait of Andy Warhol heads to Christie’s with $ 20 million estimate

The next fall auction season will be a major test of the market for Andy Warhol.

Christie’s has just added a highly publicized work by the pop artist to its November lineup: a rare silkscreen portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat that could bring in more than $ 20 million. He will join a list of great Warhols already headed to the block, including examples from the Linda and Harry Macklowe collection at Sotheby’s.

Christie’s will offer Jean-Michel Basquiat at its 20th Century Art Evening Sale on November 11. The work premiered in 1982, a late phase for Warhol, but just at the right time for Basquiat, whose paintings that year won several of his best auction prices. Warhol’s 40-by-40-inch canvas on an oxidized background is sold by collector Peter Brant, according to Christie’s.

Once considered the proxy of the contemporary art market, demand for Warhol fell after peaking in 2014 as tastes changed and supply dried up. Warhol’s works generated around just under $ 150 million at auction in the first half of 2021, according to the Artnet pricing database. Meanwhile, already a market star Basquiat has climbed to the top of the charts this year, with sales totaling $ 302.7 million in the same period, just behind Pablo Picasso.

Jean-Michel Basquiat carries a guarantee (as is often the case with works offered by the connoisseur of the Brant market) and has already been backed by a third party. The collector bought it from the Mugrabi family about 20 years ago; it was recently exhibited in the Whitney exhibition “Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again” in 2018.

Alex Rotter, president of 20th / 21st century art at Christie’s, said the painting has the potential to reset the Warhol market. The work elevates Basquiat to Warhol’s pantheon of cultural icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor at a time when the artist’s profile has never been higher. It also celebrates the friendship between the two artists.

“From Brooklyn to China, Basquiat symbolizes a new generation, and Warhol has recognized that sooner than anyone,” Rotter said in a statement. “His unparalleled ability to capture fame, fame, glory and tragedy culminates in this portrayal. Both on Basquiat and Warhol, this is one of the most exciting paintings to hit the auction market this year.

He is certainly setting up a War of the Warhols. Sotheby’s offers Marilyn (9 times) [Nine Marilyns] (1962), which has an estimate of $ 40-60 million, from the Macklowe Collection.

Brant, a great collector of Warhol and Basquiat, often artfully multiplies his sales of top-notch art just before an artist’s market reaches the stratosphere. Last year he sold Basquiat’s Boy and dog in a Johnnypump (1982) for more than $ 110 million to hedge fund manager Ken Griffin in a private transaction. The sale of 58.4 million dollars of his Jeff Koons Balloon Dog (Orange) in 2013 remained the artist’s auction record for the next six years.

Rotter told his major customers to “pay what it takes” for Jean-Michel Basquiat, he said. “The ultimate image right now – and for the future – is Basquiat. I have the highest expectations.

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