Jean-Michel had been deeply sensitized by his mother to the graphic arts. Increasingly but probably unconsciously, his graffiti are getting closer to the galleries. In 1980 he seeks to recover for himself alone the SAMO© name. He is not yet identified but local TVs would like to interview him.
Keith Haring made his Radiant Babies graffiti at the same time. He manages to meet Jean-Michel during an action on the walls of an art school. Jean-Michel becomes an artist. His experience of the streets gave him a great speed with the spray.
Emilio Mazzoli is one of the first to appreciate that Jean-Michel's artistic approach is aesthetically new in unexplored themes. He invites Jean-Michel for a solo exhibition titled SAMO in May 1981 in his gallery in Modena, Italy.
The young artist has some difficulties in passing the customs with the works that he has prepared in New York. In addition he is preparing new paintings on site. Inspired by his fresh vision of bucolic Italy, The field next to the other road has the format of a fresco, 221 x 401 cm. It was sold for $ 37M including premium by Christie's on May 13, 2015.
Made in acrylic, oilstick, spray and collage on canvas 128 x 226 cm, New York New York was specially conceived to display in Modena the atmosphere of the Lower East End and the life in the streets. The brightly colored houses and shops are reminiscent of the Greenwich Village of Beauford Delaney. Tags and signs intermingle their contradictory messages. The skully board symbolizes the creative freedom of kids in underprivileged New York. The new mark of the artist is the three-pointed crown which appears twice.
Purchased directly from Mazzoli, New York New York had never been viewed outside of Italy. It is estimated £ 7M for sale by Sotheby's in London on June 26, lot 19.
SOLD for £ 8.1M including premium