The first visit in the spring of 1981 was caused by the exhibition dedicated to him in Modena by Emilio Mazzoli. He discovered Europe and painted the very weird Field next to the other road. This mural sized canvas 221 x 401 cm tells that the basement of Annina Nosei is already not sufficient to match his grand vision. This painting was sold for $ 37M including premium by Christie's on May 13, 2015.
Jean-Michel returns to Modena in March 1982. He executes a pair of paintings on the traditional Italian theme of paradise and hell but as usual he blurs the message to exacerbate his vision of the power to the blacks. An advised art critic would later comment that Jean-Michel Basquiat had been the Jimi Hendrix of painting.
On May 10 in New York, Christie's sells the devil's figure at lot 36 B. Jean-Michel understood the visual advantage of gigantism which will be one of the essential characteristics of the art of our time : the size of the canvas is 239 x 500 cm. It is painted in acrylic without oil stick, enabling to introduce some drippings below the puddles of bright colors surrounding the horned head.
Some critics see a self-portrait in this devil. This is an excessive opinion because the lines are stylized, but indeed this threatening tribal face reflects the ambition of the young artist to become a redeemer of the world.
Jean-Michel did not need to give a title to his Demon, unlike the divine figure which he called Profit 1 by one of his usual claw blows against capitalism. The contrast is striking : here the background is dark and tagged, the round mouth is shouting a sermon that nobody will listen.
The press release of April 15 indicates that this Untitled is estimated in excess of $ 40M.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Christie's. This masterpiece is discussed by Brett Gorvy.
SOLD for $ 57M including premium