Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jawbone of an Ass, 1982/2004

Screenprint in colors, on Saunders 410 Hot Press watercolour paper, numbered from an edition of 85 in pencil (there were also 15 artist proofs), signed and dated in pencil by the executor of the artist estate on the reverse and with the estate stamp, published by David De Sanctis Contemporary Art
61 × 41 1/2 inches (155 × 105.4 cm.)
Very Good
Private Collection
New York

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More information about this artwork

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an African-American painter, poet, musician and graffiti prodigy who has become one of the most prominent cultural figures and pop icons of the 20th century. Contrast and dichotomy were a hallmark of the work that he created in his short life, as he died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. With a particular interest in the human experience, his pieces investigated the sharp contrasts in the world around us between black and white, wealth and poverty, inner and outer. Quickly ascending to the highest levels of the art world by the time he was 20, Basquiat used scribbled words, elusive symbols and recurring heads and skulls to reference socio-political issues, popular culture imagery, Biblical messages and his Caribbean heritage.

Released by the Estate of Basquiat and based on the artist’s 1982-piece, Jawbone of an Ass Takes its title from the story of the legendary warrior Samson portrayed in the biblical Book of Judges: ‘And Samson said, with the jawbone of an ass… have I slain a thousand men’. Featuring the names of ancient warriors and philosophers - such as Scipio, Hannibal, Hector, Virgil and Socrates -, the artist illustrates the ‘war of the mind’. Basquiat holds the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for an American artist’s work.

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