In his tragically brief but brilliant career, American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat created close to 600 paintings – the prices of which have increased over the years. His 1982 painting, Untitled, sold for US$110.5 million (S$146.9) in 2017 – which was one of the most expensive paintings ever sold up till that point.

Now, another one of Basquiat’s paintings is set to break price records again. Christie’s Hong Kong will be offering one of his seminal works, Warrior, at a live-streamed, single-lot auction on March 23. This auction, titled We Are All Warriors – The Basquiat Auction, will be held in conjunction with Christie’s London sale week, and comes on the back of a large sale of 20th and 21st Century art in Hong Kong last December, where Asian collectors realised a total of US$390 million in sales. 

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Warrior, as exhibited at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center. Image: Brant Foundation

Warrior has been estimated to fetch between US$31 million to US$41 million, and is set to be the most expensive Western-produced artwork ever offered in Asia. The piece will be auctioned by Christie’s Global President Jussi Pylkkänen.

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Warrior (1982)

Created in 1982 with acrylic, oil stick, and spray paint on a wood panel, Warrior represents the period of Basquiat’s career in which he first reached “artistic maturity”, and can be seen as a semi-autobiographical work that interprets the artist’s observation of an absence of black representation in the art world, and art history. 

The painting has been exhibited around the world, first in 1983 at Akira Ikeda Gallery at Tokyo, most famously, at the 2019 hit exhibition Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center in New York.

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Featured image: Christie’s