from The Wall Street Journal

Basquiat Is Hotter Than Warhol—and Now a Billionaire Wants to Sell a 1982 Work for $70 Million

Collector Yusaku Maezawa is auctioning off his wall-size Basquiat, featuring a devilish figure, at Phillips this spring

By Kelly Crow

Untitled 1982 work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, estimated at around $70 million, to be offered at Phillips in May. PHOTO: PHILLIPS

A billionaire who recently rocketed to the International Space Station said he is sending one of his prized Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings to auction this spring for an estimated $70 million. The move hints at the shifting whims of the world’s wealthy but also underscores the continuing strength of the art market overall. 

Yusaku Maezawa wasn’t well-known in art circles when he paid Christie’s a record-breaking $57.3 million for his untitled 1982 Basquiat six years ago. The collector reveled in the win by posting an image on his Instagram account, shrugging off the typical discretion exercised by some top buyers.

Now, the fashion mogul behind e-commerce site Zozotown said he is ready to resell his breakout Basquiat, enlisting boutique auctioneer Phillips to offer up the painting in May in New York. The 16-foot-wide work is splashed with red and salmon hues and features a horned devil-like figure that curators have suggested could be the former New York graffiti artist’s conflicted self-portrait. 

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