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A rare drawing by Jean-Michel Basquiat is estimated at 10 million dollars


On Thursday July 2nd, the auction house Philips is organising a sale of works by some of the biggest artists of the 20th century. Among this impressive collection is a drawing by Jean-Michel Basquiat created a year before his death and now worth an estimated 10 million dollars. Part of the proceeds made from its sale will go to The Art of Justice Fund, fighting mass incarceration.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, Victor 25448, acrylic, oilstick, wax and crayon on paper laid on canvas, 72 x 131 in. Executed in 1987. Estimate: $8,000,000 - 12,000,000.

Gerhard Richter, David Hammons, Banksy, Charles White, Joan Mitchell and KAWS… For its latest auction of modern and contemporary art, Philips will be selling works by some of the greatest 20th and 21st century artists. Among the highly impressive 20 lots to go under the hammer on Thursday 2nd July, is a piece by Jean-Michel Basquiat entitled Victor 25448. Dated 1987, it is one of the biggest drawings by the young painter who used paper for his pictorial experimentations. 


In his short yet incredibly productive life as an artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting focused on his own condition as a black man living in the USA, vehemently proclaiming his hatred of racism. Produced just a year before he died, Victor 25448 assembles all the recurrent elements of Basquiat’s painting within its composition: fields of colour, logos, word play, figurative paintings and symbols. Painted in capitals like slogans, the word IDEAL is repeated three times: is this a reference to the American toy giant or a denunciation of the art market? When the painter died at the tender age of 27, he took the real meaning of the work to the grave with him, but it still remains a testimony to his commitment. While his message seems less incisive than other works such as Slave Auction (1982), Victor 25448 nevertheless captures the desperation of the young New Yorker facing the death of his dear friend Andy Warhol a few months earlier. Increasingly isolated, Jean-Michel Basquiat drowned his sorrows in alcohol and heroin. The distraught figure at the bottom right might even be a portrait of the artist himself...


From a private collection, the drawing has been estimated at a colossal sum of $10 million - an amount that may well be exceeded this Thursday by the highest bidders. Reacting to the current fight against racism in America and as an extension of Jean-Michel Basquiat's political commitment, Phillips will donate part of the profits from its sale to the charity The Art of Justice Fund. Created in 2017 by American philanthropist Agnes Gund, this fund’s mission is to fight against the mass incarceration of mainly African-American men in the USA, but also to support young artists with grants .


20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, on Thursday July 2nd 2020 at Phillips New York.