Basquiat $3.4m self-portrait kicks off big week for London's art markets


American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat's career may have been tragically short, but despite that he was still able to make a strong impression on the art world and leave an influential legacy.

This was proved last night, June 27, in London auction house Phillips de Pury's contemporary sale, where one of his self-portraits sold for an amazing £2.1m ($3.4m).


Clearly troubled by inner demons, Basquiat's portrait is almost devil-like

What makes this more incredible though is the fact that the same piece was sold for $647,500 in New York's Phillips de Pury branch back in 2003.

In just eight years, the artwork's value has essentially increased by $2.8m, which is an awesome return in anyone's book. This reinforces the fact that putting faith in collectibles really does offer a fantastic alternative to more traditional means of investment.

The self-portrait of Basquiat, who rubbed shoulders with other legends of the New York art scene like Andy Warhol during the 1980s, clearly gives the impression that he was a troubled figure, depicting himself almost in a devil-like form.

Interestingly, the work is attached to a larger wooden board that is covered in a large amount of bottle caps, so clearly Basquiat was a highly experimental artist who wanted to push boundaries.

Given his short life, any works connected to him are likely to be rare, meaning they could justifiably be expected to go up in value in the next few years. Who knows how much this piece could be worth in another eight years...

Phillips de Pury's event was just one of several high profile ones happening in the English capital this week, as other auctioneers like Sotheby's and Christie's are also holding their own significant sales.


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