Basquiat painting fetches record $110.5 million at auction

Sotheby's

Sotheby's

A painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat has sold for a record breaking $110.5 million (£85.3 million) - 29 years after he died. This week, his painting "Untitled" sold in NY for $110.5 million.

Basquiat unfortunately died of a drug overdose in 1988 at the age of 27.

Cheers and applause greeted the winning telephone bid following an intense 10-minute auction at Sotheby's.

The canvas was bought by entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa, founder of e-commerce giant Start Today, after a protracted, old-school bidding war that included four participants beyond the $60 million pre-sale estimate.

"I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece", Maezawa said.

The good news for art fiends is that despite shelling out a pretty penny for this Jean-Claude Basquiat painting, Maezawa doesn't intend to keep it locked away in a mansion. But the sale also sets the record, "for a work by any American artist, for a work by an African-American artist, and as the first work created since 1980 to make over $100 million", according to the New York Times.

Basquiat was a street artist who became famous in the early 1980s.

By AFP's Jennie Matthew in NY. The Japan Times reported that he spent $98 million on art within just two days in 2016.

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The untitled work has also become the most expensive by any USA artist.

His death, in his Manhattan art studio, bequeathed him cult status. That tops the $105 million paid in 2013 for an Andy Warhol painting.

Remember Yusaku Maezawa? If you're don't, let me refresh your memory: Last spring, the Japanese billionaire single-handedly carried the NY auction season by spending $98 million over a span of two days on art Sotheby's and Christie's.

"We are thrilled that it was purchased by Yusaku Maezawa for his planned museum so others will have a chance to experience its magic firsthand", said Billault.

$142m. Francis Bacon Triptych "Three Studies of Lucian Freud".

Jean-Michel Basquiat's mix of NY street art aesthetics with social commentary cemented his creative reputation from his 1980s peak onwards.

$106.5m. Pablo Picasso "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust".

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