Following the highly-successful sale of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s monumental work Warrior at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, making it the most expensive western artwork ever sold in Asia, the art dealer is set to auction a $35 million-estimated artwork by the American artist in the coming months.
The work is a 1982 painting titled Versus Medici that reflects a point where Basquiat was influenced by his time in Modena, Italy. As the title suggests, the artwork references the Renaissance-era Medici family, and it boasts a handful of signature motifs from the artist: a skeleton, a crown and scribbled words, to mention a few. Versus Medici was painted when the artist was just 22 years old — his paintings from 1982 are the most valuable in the market.
“In Versus Medici, Basquiat melds the political and art-historical as he consciously stages a reckoning with the Westernized ideal of visual culture and was intent on mastering and commandeering the accepted ‘rules’ of art history in order to break them,” said Sotheby’s New York Head of Contemporary Art Grégoire Billault.
Sotheby’s Jean-Michel Basquiat Versus Medici auction starts on May 12.