Hong Kong is getting ready for a spectacular auction. On March 23, the iconic painting Warrior by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) will be under the hammer at Christies auction house. It is expected that the canvas will bring in more than 40 million dollars. The highest amount ever paid in Asia for a Western work of art.
Basquiat painted the work in 1982, when he was in his most creative period and at the tops of his strength. His warrior is often seen as an autobiographical work, because the artist – himself of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent – saw himself as a gladiator who stood up for the African-American people.
The painting was first shown in the Akira Ikeda Gallery in Tokyo a year later, in 1983. It was also on display at numerous exhibitions about Basquiat. In 2019, it was one of the highlights at the highly visited retrospective exhibition of his work at Brant Foundation Art Study Center in New York.
Jean-Michel Basquiat died of a heroin overdose in 1988. The uncrowned king of the New York graffiti scene was only 27 years old. But since then, his star has become even stronger rising and brighter. For years, his canvases have been among the most expensive auction pieces and among the best investments according to the APEX list. Rappers like Jay-Z and Kanye West are idolent of his work. In 2017, a cloth of his hand, a black skull with a screaming mouth, raised over 110 million dollars. He became the most expensive American artist of the moment.