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Warhol & Basquiat’s Collaboration Series

Sotheby’s

Warhol & Basquiat’s Collaboration Series Masterwork To Highlight Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction

Untitled is the most significant collaboration painting to appear at auction in a decade, and follows last year’s blockbuster retrospective at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and the Brant Foundation in New York.

This May, Sotheby’s will present as a highlight of the Contemporary Evening Auction one of the most significant paintings created jointly by legendary artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat during their famed period of collaboration from 1983 - 1985. The painting, Untitled (1984), is a large-scale example of their multi-year creative experiment that fused their distinctive visual languages and styles–Warhol’s signature use of screenprinting and mechanically produced imagery, such as corporate logos, coupled with Basquiat’s expressionistic, figurative scrawls in paintstick–to create one of the most singular bodies of work in 20th century art. In the four decades since their creation, the Warhol-Basquiat collaboration paintings have only added to the mystique and legend of their creators, and stand out as daring testaments to their artistic partnership and friendship.

Coming to auction for the first time in nearly 15 years with an estimate upon request, Untitled’s sale will mark a major new benchmark price for the series. The sale follows a period of recent critical reappraisal and cultural attention for Warhol-Basquiat works, including a blockbuster retrospective held last year at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Titled Basquiat x Warhol: Painting Four Hands, the exhibition represented the largest collection of collaboration paintings ever exhibited, and a version of the exhibition travelled later in 2023 to the Brant Foundation in New York. Untitled was a centerpiece of both exhibitions, and together the surveys marked the most significant ever presentation of these famed collaborative works.

The collaborative works were also even the subject of a 2022 dramatization of their artistic endeavor titled The Collaboration, which debuted on London’s West End and The Young Vic before debuting later that year on Broadway. The play, which starred Paul Bettany as Warhol and Jeremy Pope as Basquiat, tells the story of how the two artists began their collaborative journey and is currently being adapted into a film. Before the May auction in New York, Untitled will be on view in Hong Kong (April 2 – 6) and London (April 11 – 12) before returning to New York for Sotheby’s marquee week exhibition in early May. The Collaboration Paintings

“When Warhol and Basquiat first revealed the fruits of their collaboration at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1985, the critical reception failed to see the true artistic vision of what is undoubtedly the most important artistic collaboration of the 20th century. Nearly 40 years later, the collaborative works are now, rightfully, seen as a landmark and an integral part of both artists’ bodies of work, synthesizing their contrasting styles and visions with total iconoclasm. The series showcases not only the distinctive genius of two singular artists, but also an entirely new artistic voice created in a momentary flash that would never again be replicated.”

Gregoire Billault, Sotheby’s Chairman of Contemporary Art
By 1983, Jean-Michel Basquiat had firmly established himself as the leader of a new generation of artists lighting up New York’s Downtown scene, winning himself the acclaim and attention not seen by an American artist since Andy Warhol rose to fame two decades earlier in the 1960s. Basquiat emerged as the young art world prodigy of the 1980s known for his gritty street art origins and his reinvigoration of painting with raw, gestural bravura. Within a few years, Basquiat was firmly established as a major new artistic voice whose reputation was quickly growing.

In contrast to Basquiat’s fast rising star, Warhol was the éminence grise of New York’s art scene. But, for all of Warhol’s influence and star power, the famed artist had also lost some of the verve that defined his career in the 1960s (his 1973 exhibition of portraits at the Whitney Museum of Art was viewed by critics as a misstep and is often cited as a turning point in how Warhol was perceived by critics and the culture at large), taking on a new role as the larger-than-life celebrity artist. Still presiding over the Factory, Warhol consistently, if not quietly, produced a significant body of work during this period, including his Oxidation series, Rorschach blots, and the Shadow paintings–all of which saw new experimentation in form and subject for the artist that would help define his later output.

It was against this backdrop that, at the suggestion of renowned, Zurich-based gallerist Bruno Bischofberger, who had formally introduced the artists a year before in 1982, Basquiat and Warhol began their fated collaboration. To produce their joint works, Warhol and Basquiat each took turns adding layers of imagery to the canvas. Their collaboration expands on the Surrealistic tradition of the “








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  • Tadayuki Naitoh, The Portrait, 1985. Art © Tadayuki Naitoh, Courtesy Medel Gallery Shu
    Tadayuki Naitoh, The Portrait, 1985. Art © Tadayuki Naitoh, Courtesy Medel Gallery Shu
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat working on a Collaboration painting in Warhol’s Manhattan loft, 1984. Art © 2024 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat working on a Collaboration painting in Warhol’s Manhattan loft, 1984. Art © 2024 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Exhibition poster for Warhol Basquiat Paintings at Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, 1985
    Exhibition poster for Warhol Basquiat Paintings at Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, 1985
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus