Estimate: US$12,000,000 - US$18,000,000
Price realised: US$10,162,500
Jean-Michel-Basquiat Humidity 1982 acrylic, oilstick, and Xerox collage on canvas 96 x 72 in. (243.8 x 182.9 cm) Signed, titled, inscribed, and dated “’HUMIDITY’ Jean-Michel-Basquiat ‘Do Not Revenge’ 1982” on the reverse.
Provenance Annina Nosei Gallery, New York Marlborough Gallery, New York Elaine and Werner Dannheisser, New York Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York Private Collection Exhibited New York, Marlborough Gallery, The Pressure To Paint, Curated by Diego Cortez, June 4 - July 9, 1982 Austin, Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, New American Painting: A Tribute to James and Mari Michener, January 12–March 5, 1984 New York, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, April 25 – May 30, 1998 New York, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Four Friends: Jean-Michel-Basquiat, Keith Haring Donald Baechler Kenny Scharf October 25, 2007 – February 29, 2008 Literature E. McCready, J.A. Michener, M. Michener, New American Painting: A Tribute to James and Mari Michener, Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, College of Fine Arts, The University of Texas at Austin, 1984 R.D. Marshall and J.L. Prat, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, Paris, Galerie Enrico Navarra, 1996, vol. ii, p. 86, no. 1 (illustrated) T. Shafrazi, J. Deitch, R. D. Marshall, Jean-Michel-Basquiat, New York, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, 1999, p. 137 (illustrated) Video JEAN-MICHEL-BASQUIAT Humidity, 1982 Phillips former Chairman, Simon de Pury, presents Jean-Michel-Basquiat's 'Humidity', 1982. It has been suggested that the central figure in Humidity, 1982, illustrates Basquiat's friend and most influential mentor -- Andy Warhol It has also been suggested that the dynamic and joyful figure to the right is actually the portrait of Swiss dealer Bruno Bischofberger. As their gallerist, Bischofberger had championed both Warhol and Basquiat's careers and nurtured the artistic collaborations between the two. While Warhol and Basquiat's collaborations would come after the creation of Humidity, 1982, it becomes a distinctive homage to two men who had greatly influenced the young Basquiat. Catalogue Essay During his early years in the public spotlight—from 1980 to 1982—Jean- Michel Basquiat’s progression as an artist was nuclear. His explorations into the subconscious imagery of the human psyche along with his integration of myriad cultural and anatomical tropes makes him one of the most recognized artists of the contemporary era. Throughout these years, we bear witness to a series of crowned figures living many lives: luminous, thorny, even cubic, and polygonal. Humidity, 1982, comes at the height of Basquiat’s unprecedented artistic revelations of the human condition. The painting yields limitless treasures of Basquiat’s generous spirit, and his sharp observations. As a young graffiti artist in the late 1970s, Basquiat shared a partnership with his friend Al Diaz, establishing the phenomenon known as “SAMO”, named for their trademark tags on inner city buildings. Short for “same old shit”, SAMO as a form of satire. Many of their provocative anti-establishment messages addressed the sensitive issues of race, identity, and commercialism. Binding their biting ideas in eloquent poetry, SAMO managed to gain relative fame from their immense pictorial constructions, and Basquiat was apt to insert figures of his own making into their works, including early studies in bare, skeletal portrayals of the human body. Armed with a unique transition of expression, Basquiat soon disbanded SAMO in order to pursue his own projects. While Basquiat has drawn from a multitude of art-historical sources, Humidity, 1982 makes certain allusions inevitable. Scholars are apt to describe the primitivism of post-Impressionists Paul Gaugin and Henri Rousseau as Basquiat’s historical precedents, their portrayals of “primitive” figures functioning as metaphors for essential states of the human psyche. Pablo Picasso furthered this theme, yet incorporated his signature cubist form, bringing a revolutionary stylistic element to the mask of primitivism. These early Twentieth Century painters were observant rather participatory; their masks were waystations for aesthetic experimentation. Raised in Brooklyn in a multicultural family, he mastered Spanish, French, a
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