Estimate: US$2,000,000 - US$3,000,000
Price realised: US$3,021,000
Jean-Michel-Basquiat Rodo 1984 acrylic on canvas 66 1/8 x 60 1/4 in. (168 x 153 cm.) Signed, titled and dated “‘Rodo’ Jean Michel Basquiat 1984” on the reverse.
Provenance Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich Private Collection Private Collection, Geneva Exhibited Zurich, Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, January 1 – February, 16, 1985 Hannover, Kestnergesellschaft, Jean-Michel-Basquiat: To Repel Ghosts, November 28, 1986 – January 25, 1987 Malmö, Rooseum, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, Julian Schnabel April 8 – May 28, 1989 Marseille, Musée Cantini, Jean-Michel-Basquiat – Une Rétrospective, July 4 – September 20, 1992 Trieste, Civico Museo Revoltella Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, May 15, 1999 – September 15, 1999 Lugano, Museo d’Arte Moderna, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, March 20 – June 19, 2005 Literature Jean-Michel-Basquiat, exh. cat., Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, 1985, p. 9, no. 3 (illustrated) C. Haenlein, R. Thompson Jean-Michel-Basquiat: To Repel Ghosts, exh. cat., Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, 1986, p. 73 (illustrated) F. Roos, J. Deitch, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, Julian Schnabel exh. cat., Rooseum, Malmö, 1989, p. 42, no. 21 (illustrated) M. Enrici, J.M. Basquiat, Paris: Editions de la Différence, 1989, p. 95 (illustrated) B. Millet, Jean-Michel-Basquiat – Une Rétrospective, exh. cat., Musée Cantini, Marseille, 1992, p. 131 (illustrated) R. Marshall Jean-Michel-Basquiat, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1992-1993, p. 34 (illustrated) R. Marshall J. Prat, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, Paris: Galerie Enrico Navarra, 1996, vol. II, p. 136, no. 8 Jean-Michel-Basquiat, exh. cat., Civico Museo Revoltella Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Trieste, 1999, p. 85 (illustrated) L. Marenzi, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, Milan: Charta Edizioni, 1999, p. 85 (illustrated) R. Marshall J. Prat, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, Paris: Galerie Enrico Navarra, 2000, p. 220 (illustrated) Jean-Michel-Basquiat, exh. cat., Museo d’Arte Moderna, Lugano, 2005, p. 75, no. 34 (illustrated) R. Chiappini, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, Skira: Milan, 2005, p. 75, no. 34 (illustrated) Catalogue Essay As Basquiat approached the age of 24, his reputation as a central figure of the burgeoning art world of the 1980s was firmly established; he graced the covers of magazines, enjoyed a jet-setting lifestyle that took him to Paris, Hawaii and Africa, and was prominent in social circles. Yet Basquiat’s keen sense self-awareness as an artist had not retreated an inch, and his work continued to be as radical as when he had burst onto the scene four years before. On the surface of his canvases, he wrestled with his personal demons and continually challenged his artistic forbearers, exhibiting his conscientiousness just as much as his willingness to live on the edge. Rodo, 1984, possesses a harrowing and deceptive serenity that that eludes many of Basquiat’s early works. This seemingly placid scene is held taut by a psychological tension and frisson that shares a direct affinity with his aggressive compositions of a few years before. Approaching a nearly classical level of balance, Basquiat’s picture is a fascinating study of his astounding facility to imbue an economically rendered figure with a universe of pathos. The central figure of the piece blazes forth in a deep royal blue and an interplay of red and orange, with highlights of chocolate brown by her ankles and black scattered around her torso. Teetering on the edge of a sculpturally rendered chair, she sits in an almost contraposto pose, contorting herself for the sake of the classical ideal. She appears to tilt toward the viewer, showcasing her neckline and full breasts in order to assert her femininity. Elsewhere, the white background fades to delicate shadow around a bright blue window, hinting at a sky full of stars outside. In one of the foremost appraisals of Basquiat’s body of work, entitled “Royalty, Heroism, and the Streets: The Art of Jean-Michel-Basquiat,” Robert Farris Thompson also finds the stylistic idiosyncrasies of Rodo to be a major turn in Basquiat’s work in 1984. He even goes so far as to hint at Basquiat’s shift towards a new cadre of influences
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