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Jean-Michel Basquiat first achieved fame as a part of the graffiti duo SAMO. By 1981, at the age of twenty, he had turned from spraying graffiti to selling paintings in SoHo galleries, rapidly becoming one of the most accomplished artists of his generation and a leading figure of the Neo-Expressionism Movement.His work is known for its primitivist motives, combining anatomical diagrams, commercial art, Black pop cultural history and figures, charged phrases and words, and representations of the body in an emotional and psychologically explosive admixture.
Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960. First years of struggle gave way to fame in 1980, when his work was exhibited in a group show. By 1985, he was featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine as the epitome of the hot, young artist in a booming market. In the mid-1980s, Basquiat collaborated with famed pop artist Andy Warhol. In 1986, he exhibited nearly 60 paintings at the Kestner-Gesellschaft Gallery in Hanover, Germany—becoming the youngest artist to ever showcase his work there. He died of a drug overdose on August 12, 1988, in New York City. He was 27 years old.
Basquiat’s work is found in major collections all over the world, including the Broad Art Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Daros Collection in Zurich, the Menil Collection in Houston, and the Hoffmann Collection in Berlin, among many others.
In May 2017, his work “Untitled,” a 1982 painting of a skull, was sold for $110.5 million at a Sotheby’s auction, setting records for the highest price for a work by an American artist.
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