JM Basquiat - The Radiant Child doc

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
That painting sold for $19,000 in 1984. Prices have gone up I guess.
 
There was a huge Basquiat show at MOCA I saw maybe 12-15 years ago, which I think had that painting. I probably still have the program somewhere. I personally really like his work.
 

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
There's no one left who will authenticate Basquiat's work, so the market is kind of limited to the work that has good provenance, as the kids say. Which is one of the reasons that recent sale number was so high.

Here's a guy who knew him talking about authentication. Kind of. And other things.

A friend of mine knew him...intimately...as, again, the kids would say, and when she broke up with him she gave back all the JMB art that was at her apartment, including a lot of drawings and small paintings and a dress of hers that he had painted on. Talk about the one that got away.

But then I guess if you can't get that stuff authenticated anymore the value is questionable.
 

esart

esart.com
Founding member
Over 500 posts
I guess if they broke up and it was his work, then it belonged to him. Seems only fair. I think she should have kept her dress though.

A lot of people are up in arms about how much money this work sold for. I don't remember people freaking out this hard when Interchange by de Kooning sold for three times that a couple of years ago. So weird. People also have paid more for houses and many CEOs make much more annually, not to mention songwriters that have written hit songs that continually play throughout history. Anyway, It's not my favorite Basquiat, but I do love his work.
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
Over 1000 posts
i read in a bio or article years ago that the guy who was his studio assistant - i think - or friend, or both, bought a painting from his gallery when his work was only a few grand and when basquiat found out he made the guy return it - something about "you're not an important enough collector" to own it. and the guy did return it to the gallery.

i wonder if he thinks about that when he's trying to figure out how he's gonna pay his bills...

edit - that's funny - i just watched the vid mjp posted and that's the guy!

btw that host needs to cut back on the caffeine. or the coke or whatever...
 
Last edited:

esart

esart.com
Founding member
Over 500 posts
Believe it or not, that host, Mat Gleason, does not do coke or drink coffee.

It makes you wonder if that last auction was even legit. Maybe it was not a real JMB? What exactly was the provenance? I didn't catch that.
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
Over 1000 posts
that skull painting was a majorly legit JMB but it's CRAZY the way auction prices are going. very strange. you get more than one person with unlimited cash and the sky's the limit. must be nice.

i always wonder how the artists would react - going back centuries - hearing what their stuff gets at auction these days.

probably something like "i could of used that when i was alive and starving..." or "of course, i'm a genius!"

btw i do like Mat G.
 

esart

esart.com
Founding member
Over 500 posts
Even artists that are living that fetch huge prices are not collecting the prices we think they are, especially in auction settings; there's more than one middleman. It's too bad when the artist's family isn't getting much of the profit. Though, even upon resale, by law, they are entitled to some (not much). Last I heard it was 5% in California -- of the retail. I would assume it's something like that in NY too, which would mean that his sisters stood to make a lot from the sale.

I just finished reading an old article about the committee that his father championed before he died that authenticated the real ones from the fakes. This in fact helped to increase his prices and secure his legacy, etc. He died mid-2013, which explains why prices went even higher. Those are all definite authentic paintings, so I understand that it would be very difficult to authenticate them now.

In the case of Vincent Van Gogh - he only sold one painting in his life while he was alive, so being one of the highest selling artists of all time would probably very much surprise him. I would think it would piss him off. He'd ask why he had to suffer so much during his life, having to feel like a burden on his family, specifically feeling (probably at times) that Theo was cheering him on in vain. Yet we know that other times he resented Theo for not doing more for him. The whole situation of him not being recognized made many many things awful and complicated for him and probably exacerbated depression that was already there. So It's a shame. Many of the other dead artists we able to make their livings as artists when they were alive. Only few come to mind that had great difficulty. Sometimes I think of artists like Modigliani. While he sold work while he was alive, he suffered a lot of persecution.
 

Purple Stickpin

Over 5000 posts
For the most part, art (as a broad concept) is a vehicle for those with no artistic talent to make money. For some inane reason, the artist is the least important cog in this antiquated yet still prevalent equation. Life goes on, for better or worse.

Sometimes I think of artists like Modigliani. While he sold work while he was alive, he suffered a lot of persecution.
Not to mention a miserable death during an historically-cold European winter.
 
Last edited:
Top