Jean-Michel Basquiat

Leeches, 1982-2017

Screen print on Lenox Museum Board
Signed, stamped and numbered Edition of 50
22 x 30 inches (55.9 x 76.2 cm.)
Very Good
Private Collection

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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.

Leeches is a great example of his iconic Neo-Expressionist style. Featuring one of his focal human skulls, painted using wild and spirited colors in an almost frankensteinish way, Basquiat explores both the collective and individual identity. His own personal iconography, composed of ambiguous phrases, poetic declarations, cryptic codes and charged words, confers to the hectic composition a unique, enchanting musicality. Basquiat holds the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for an American artist’s work.

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