Jean-Michel Basquiat's Monticello headlines at $1.2m

Monticello, Jean-Michel Basquiat's representation of a US 5 cent coin, will headline an auction held by Digard Auctions and Mary McCarthy in Paris on October 25.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Monticello
Basquiat began his career as a graffiti artist, before going on to fascinate the fine art market

The Urban Contemporary Art auction showcases pieces from the leading artists of the scene, with Basquiat's work expected to sell for $826,500-1.2m.

Jean-Michel Basquiat began his artistic career as a graffiti artist in Manhattan, working under the pseudonym SAMO. His work was admired by the artistic elite and, after meeting Andy Warhol, he made the transition to creating fine art, yet continued to straddle both genres.

The auction house states: "'Monticello'… offers both an economic and a political interpretation, as a comment on unbridled capitalism and racism. By smearing the text on the painting, Basquiat emphasizes the plurality of American society as he expresses solidarity with its minorities."

The market for Basquiat's work has reached new heights in recent years, with several records set. The current record is held by Dustheads at $48.8m.

See Wikicollecting's Top 10 Basquiat paintings sold at auction.  

Keith Haring Sneeze canvas
Both Haring and Basquiat's art embodies 1980s New York street culture

Also starring in the auction is fellow star of the 1980s New York art scene, Keith Haring, with Sneeze - a seminal work.

Valued at $964,000, the 1984 canvas is joined by contemporary urban artist Shepard Fairey's CityKids at $55,000. A portion of the proceeds from the lot will benefit the New York charity City Kids, honouring Haring's historical links with the cause.

Of course, no auction of urban art would be complete without a Banksy piece. His Sid Vicious, a stencil of the notorious Sex Pistols star, will sell with an $82,641-110,189 estimate.

Banksy has been causing waves in New York this month, as part of a special residency. Find out what that means for collectors.

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