The canvas by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, entitled “El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile)”, was valued by experts at Christie’s New York auction house at USD 45 million (nearly PLN 190 million). The auction will take place on May 15.
The work of the American artist, who died in 1988, is a triptych depicting characters, objects and slogans referring to African, ancient Egyptian and contemporary American iconography. In its center is a yellow boat, guided down the Nile by the god Osiris.
From the collection of an Italian designer
It comes from the collection of the Italian fashion designer and founder of the Valentino house – Valentino Garavani. The fashion mogul bought the painting in 2005 at a Sotheby’s New York auction for $5.2 million. (The current estimated price of the painting is thus more than eight times higher). A year later, he paid tribute to Basquiat by releasing a collection of women’s clothing and accessories with graffiti prints taken from the artist’s works.
Referring to the upcoming auction, Christie’s CEO Alex Rotter said: “Basquiat’s genius is undeniable. His influence crosses borders, spanning fashion, art and pop culture.” He also emphasized that the artist painted “El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile)” when he was only 22 years old.
To date, Basquiat’s most expensive work sold in a public transaction is an untitled painting from 1982 (considered the best in the artist’s oeuvre), depicting a huge black skull on a blue background. In 2017, Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa auctioned it at Sotheby’s for $110.5 million. This amount turned out to be almost twice as high as predicted by experts.
Main photo source: Rose Hartman/Getty Images