Basquiat Painting Fetches Record $110.5M at New York Auction

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A Japanese billionaire bought a Basquiat masterpiece for $110.5m (£85.1m), setting a new auction record for the painter. The victor was able to fend off two other suitors during the auction that lasted about 10 minutes.

"I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me, and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations", he said.

"When I saw this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art", said Maezawa.

Sotheby's announced that the painting will be housed eventually in a museum based in Maezawa's hometown of Chiba, Japan.

The auction of Basquiat's piece elicited gasps from an observing crowd, according to the Times.

Loud cheers greeted the purchase, which also doubled the price paid for a previous Basquiat at $57 million a year ago. The painting's graffiti-like typography depicts a face in the shape of a skull. His raw and brutal works draw on the problems faced by African Americans in the US.

He had his first solo exhibition in 1980 and swiftly became established.

By AFP's Jennie Matthew in NY.

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His death, in his Manhattan art studio, bequeathed him cult status. "The problem about his reputation is that the bias increased the value of his work".

The Basquiat beat out the previous record $105 million paid in 2013 for Andy Warhol's "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)".

The $110.5 million price tag was a record for any U.S. artist at auction and the highest at auction for a post-1980 artwork, Sotheby's said.

Virtually unknown before, it was first unveiled at Sotheby's in NY just weeks ago and wrapped up Friday's auction, which scored over $1bn in sales.

$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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