(Bloomberg) -- A 16 foot-wide, 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for $85 million on Wednesday night at Phillips in New York, yielding a 48% return for its seller, the Japanese e-commerce billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.
Maezawa had purchased Untitled at Christie’s New York in 2016 for $57.3 million, making it, at the time, the most expensive work by Basquiat to ever sell at auction. A year later Maezawa broke his own record, purchasing a black skull by Basquiat for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s New York in 2017.
A subsequent sale, this time of a 1983 painting of a red skull titled In This Case for $93.1 million in May, 2021, pushed Untitled to third place.
With Wednesday night’s sale at Phillips, Untitled, which carried an unofficial $70 million estimate, is still third in the pantheon of Basquiat records at auction, just at a much higher number than before. Additionally, works by Basquiat are known to have sold privately for even larger sums. In 2020, for instance, Citadel founder Ken Griffin reportedly paid more than $100 million for Basquiat’s 1982 painting Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump.
The work, which Phillips said was purchased by an Asian client, was part of the auction house’s 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening sale, which was expected to yield as much as $210 million.
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