Basquiat’s Red Skull painting to sell at Christie’s

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Red Skull, a major work from 1982, is set to auction at Christie’s on October 6.

The piece is offered with an undisclosed estimate. It’s likely to sell for tens of millions of dollars.  

Basquiat Red Skull

Basquiat began his career as a graffiti artist

Basquiat’s skull paintings are among his most celebrated. This is one of five he produced in 1982, the year that launched his career as a fine artist.

Sotheby’s comments: “The present work, with its over-exposed palette and rapid lines pulsating like live wires, brings to mind an X-ray photograph or a grainy fragment of animation...

“The paint becomes a kind of haptic notation, alive with the chromatic freedom of improvised music.”

Demand for Basquiat’s work is soaring, as shown by the record $110.5m sale of an untitled work from 1982 at Sotheby’s earlier this year.

A major retrospective of his work taking place at London’s Barbican until January 28 will only enhance interest in this piece.

The rest of the sale will include Francis Bacon’s “Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd version 1971”, which is expected to sell for around £60m ($81.5m).

Another Bacon Pope portrait is valued at up to £10m ($13m).

Other artists featured include Peter Doig, Antony Gormley and Mark Rothko.

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