Certainly highlight at a 21st Century Evening Sale organized by Christie’s at its New York outpost is a 1983 work made by Jean-Michel Basquiat called In This Case. The piece appeared in the monumental Basquiat retrospective at Paris’ Fondation Louis Vuitton back in August 2018.
Recognizable for the skull in the center, the piece is part of a trio of paintings made in the same year which feature a similar motif, and it’s the last one up for auction. The painting currently has a pre-sale estimate of over $50 million. In This Case was displayed alongside his two most significant masterworks, Untitled (1981) in The Broad Museum and Untitled (1982) which sold in 2017 for more than $110 million — marking the highest price ever attained by an American artist at auction.
Ana Maria Celis, Christie’s senior specialist and head of the 21st Century Art Sale, said about the painting, ‘“In This Case’ will be immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with Basquiat’s trilogy of large-scale skull paintings from 1981-83. As his final expression in the series it is the most raw and visceral and emotionally-charged of the three paintings, with Basquiat holding nothing back. He trains the skull’s single yellow eye directly out at the viewer, making it impossible to look away.”
The painting will be exhibited at Christie’s Hong Kong on April 28 followed by the Rockefeller Center exhibition prior to the 21st Century Art Sale. Head to Christie’s website to learn more.