SAM will host a one-painting exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Untitled" (1982) March 21-Aug. 13.
It’s not often that one painting is enough for an exhibition. But when that one painting is by famed American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat; sold recently at auction for $110.5 million (breaking several records); and, before this year, had not been publicly exhibited for more than 30 years, it apparently is.
SAM will be hosting a one-painting exhibition of Basquiat’s “Untitled” (1982) March 21-Aug. 13, as the painting comes to Seattle on the second stop of an international tour that began at the Brooklyn Museum. It will go on to Europe afterward.
“The price came as a shock to many in the sales room, who burst into gasps at various points during the extended back-and-forth,” ARTnews reported of the auction. “The work had been the talking point of the week, but many shared the sentiment that perhaps the work carried an inflated estimate and would not go too far past the $60 million mark.”
The $110.5 million sale price shattered records, making Basquiat’s 1982 painting the first painting by an American, and by an African-American artist, to be sold at auction for more than $100 million, according to The New York Times, which also noted that it was the first work created since 1980 to sell for more than that amount. It was the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction, according to the Times.
After placing his winning bid, Maezawa announced his delight on Instagram:
“It’s truly a unique opportunity to see work by Basquiat here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Kimerly Rorschach, director and CEO of SAM, which does not have any Basquiat works in its collection.
Basquiat was a wunderkind who achieved both underground recognition (for his graffiti), and fame in the international art world. He was one of the youngest artists to take part in the Whitney Biennial in 1983 and was included in the inaugural reopening exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1984, according to SAM. Basquiat died of a drug overdose in 1988 at age 27.
“Untitled” (1982) will be shown in SAM’s galleries of modern and contemporary art. There is no extra cost (on top of admission) to see this painting. For more information: seattleartmuseum.org.