image001-5 Image: Sotheby's

The piece was purchased by collector and e-commerice entrepreneur, Yusaku Maezawa for a record price for any work by an American artist. Basquiat's work lead Sotheby's £245.6 million Contemporary Art Evening sale. The total pre-sale estimate for the sale was £162.3 - 213.2 million, with 96% of lots sold last night.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982Image: Sotheby's Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982
Image: Sotheby's

Here come the facts and figures, Untitled was also bought for the highest price ever paid for an artwork created post 1980; the second highest price for any contemporary artwork at auction and the 6th highest price for any artwork sold at auction ever.

The piece has been virtually unseen since it last appeared on the market in May of 1984, when it sold for £14 620.

"[Tonight,] Jean-Michel Basquiat entered the pantheon of artists whose works have commanded prices over $100 million, including Picasso, Giacometti, Bacon, and Warhol,''commented Grégoire Billault, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department in New York. ''This extraordinary canvas from 1982 has broken so many benchmarks – a record for any American artist at auction and for a work of art created post-1980, to name just two – but those of us lucky enough to have been in its presence will only remember it’s awesome power.  To think that it was created by a virtually-unknown 21-year old is humbling.  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.''

Image: Instagram/@yusaku2020 Image: Instagram/@yusaku2020

The work was purchased by noted collector and entrepreneur, Yusaku Maezawa, the founder of e-commerce giant, Start Today, and ZOZOTOWN, the virtual mall on Japan's largest fashion e-commerce site. The painting will eventually be housed in a museum based in Mr. Maezawa’s hometown of Chiba, Japan.

Mr. Maezawa, who announced his purchase earlier this evening via Instagram (@yusaku2020) and Twitter (@yousuck2020),  commented later to Sotheby's:  ''When I saw this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art.  I want to share that experience with as many people as possible around the world – regardless of age or background or whether they are a collector or not.  One day the painting will be a centerpiece of my museum in my hometown Chiba, but before then I wish to loan this piece – which has been unseen by the public for more than 30 years – to institutions and exhibitions around the world.  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.''

Records were also set for Jonas Wood, Wolfgang TillmansMira Schendel, Blinky Palermo, Takeo Yamaguchi and Keith Haring.

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