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Basquiat masterpiece sets new $57.2 million auction record in New York

A masterpiece by Jean-Michel Basquiat has set a new record price at auction in New York.
The monumental untitled work, painted in 1982, had been described as Basquiat’s "explosive tour de force", and sold for $57,285,000.

The previous auction record for a Jean-Michel Basquiat work had been set in 2013, when his 1982 work Dustheads sold at Christie’s in New York for $48,843,752.

"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," said Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art.

"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."

Elsewhere the sale saw a further four artworks pass the $10 million mark, led by Mark Rothko’s No. 17 which sold for $32,645,000. It was followed by Clyfford Still’s PH-234 which sold for $28,165,000, Christopher Wool’s And If You which sold for $13,605,000, and Agnes Martin’s Orange Grove, which sold for a new artist record price of $10,693,000.

Runaway Nurse by Richard Prince, sold for $9,685,000

There were also new auction records for Richard Prince, whose 2005 work Runaway Nurse sold for $9,685,000; Mike Kelley’s Memory Ware Flat 1, which sold for $3,301,000; Kerry James Marshall’s 1992 painting Plunge, which sold for $2,165,000; and Barry X Ball’s sculpture Sleeping Hermaphrodite, executed in 2008-10, which sold for $545,000.

"Tonight’s success is the result of a tightly edited sale with top quality works, which were extremely fresh to the marketplace," said Sara Friedlander, Vice President, Head of Evening Sale, Post-War and Contemporary Art.

"We are very pleased to see collectors gravitate to a broad spectrum of art, spanning from masterpiece quality works, including Rothko’s No. 17, to artists who are quickly rising within the auction market. One such example is Kerry James Marshall, whose Plunge, captivated the imagination of so many collectors and set a world auction record for the artist."

In total the sale realized $318,388,000, with sell-through rates of 87% by lot and 91% by value.

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