Japanese billionaire sells Basquiat in New York for $85 million

Published on : 19/05/2022 – 04:20Modified : 19/05/2022 – 04:18

New York (AFP) – Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, a major art collector and recent space tourist, sold a monumental painting by American Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York on Wednesday evening for $85 million, snatching a nearly capital gain. of $28 million.

At a public auction in Manhattan, the Phillips house sold “Untitled” by Basquiat, painted in 1982 by the neo-expressionist artist who died at the age of 27 and whose price has continued to climb .

Mr. Maezawa had announced in March his intention to auction at Phillips this gigantic painting which he had bought in 2016 for 57.3 million dollars.

He therefore realized a capital gain of $27.7 million.

In May 2017, the billionaire broke a record for an American work of art by buying another Basquiat painting for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s. Either one of the ten works sold at auction for more than 100 million.

Aged 46, Mr. Maezawa is the founder of Zozotown, the largest online clothing and accessories store in Japan.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, in Tokyo on January 7, 2022 Philip FONG AFP/Archives

The Japanese billionaire explained in March that owning a Basquiat for six years had been “a great pleasure”, but that the art should “be shared to be part of everyone’s life”.

Yusaku Maezawa also became the first Japanese space tourist last December to board the International Space Station (ISS) with the Russian space agency.

His odyssey is said to have cost 10 billion yen ($87 million). Mr. Maezawa is also planning a trip around the Moon organized by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

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Possessing works by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, Yusaku Maezawa says he is an “ordinary collector” of contemporary art who works “by instinct”. “I just buy what I find beautiful. That’s all,” he told AFP in 2017.

The art market is doing wonderfully in New York.

The spring sales season began on May 9 at Christie’s (owned by French wealthy Francois Pinault), which sold a portrait of Marilyn Monroe “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” by Andy Warhol for $195 million. The most expensive 20th century work of art ever sold at public auction.

Its competitor Sotheby’s (owned since 2019 by the Franco-Israeli telecom magnate Patrick Drahi) sold for 922 million dollars of works from the Macklowe collection, “the most expensive ever sold at auction” divided into two lots between November and Monday evening.

burs-nr / vgr

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