New Basquiat auction record set at Christie's

An untitled Jean-Michel Basquiat work has set a new world record for the artist at auction.

It made $57.3m, an increase of 17.4% on his former record of $48.8m.

It was the highlight of the May 10 post war and contemporary art evening sale at Christie's New York.

Basquiat Christies 1982
Basquiat painted the work in Modena, Italy in 1982

The painting was produced in Modena, Italy in 1982. Basquiat travelled there in 1981, after being invited to put on a solo exhibition.

Brett Gorvy, chairman and international head of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's, comments: "We are very proud of the record price achieved for Basquiat's monumental portrait of the artist as devil at a time when top collectors are pursuing works of the very highest quality.

"This painting drew intense competition that dispelled questions of a market contraction. We are particularly happy that the work was acquired by a collector in Asia, demonstrating the global scope of the masterpiece market."

The work is one of Basquiat's most iconic - it's used as the cover of his catalogue raisonne (the list of all his known artworks).

Mark Rothko's seminal No. 17 also sold well, picking up a bid of $32.6.

In total the sale grossed an impressive $318.3m.

Christie's vice president Sara Friedlander said: "Tonight's success is the result of a tightly edited sale with top quality works, which were extremely fresh to the marketplace.

"84% of the lots had never been sold at auction, and of the 10 works that had been sold, only 4 had been offered over the past 10 years."

Sotheby's post-war and contemporary art sale will take place later today, featuring works by Cy Twombly and Francis Bacon.

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