Jean-Michel Basquiat, La Hara (1981).
Top collector Steve Cohen is reportedly the consignor of a major Jean-Michel Basquiat painting that Christie’s will offer this spring (May 17) at its postwar and contemporary art sale, with an estimate of $22 million to $28 million.
In a sign of how far the market for Basquiat has come, the painting, titled La Hara, and painted in 1981, has only appeared at auction once before, nearly three decades ago, when it sold at Sotheby’s New York for $341,000 in 1989, clearing the high end of the $250,000 to $300,000 estimate according to the artnet Price database. The painting had changed hands several times since then, a source told artnet News, and Cohen is said to have acquired it in a private sale.
The full catalogue entry and provenance is not yet available. The work is set to go on view at Christie’s new Los Angeles headquarters in Beverly Hills, beginning April 20.
A spokesman for Cohen declined to comment.
The current auction record for Basquiat, set this past May, is $57.2 million for the 1982 painting, Untitled, that was bought by Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa. To date,ten Basquiat works have sold at auction for more than $20 million a piece, making the artist one of the most expensive contemporary artists ever,
The artnet Price Database lists 2,459 works by Basquiat that have come to auction. The most inexpensive works are drawings and works on paper that have fetched under $10,000, many having been sold in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Basquiat died in 1988.
Cohen, whose art collection has been valued at upwards of $1 billion, is known to buy and sell relatively frequently. In June 2015, he was revealed as the buyer behind Alberto Giacometti‘s Pointing Man (1947), which sold at Christie’s the month before for $141.3 million, becoming the most expensive sculpture ever to sell at auction. In fall 2014, Cohen dropped just over $100 million ($100,965,000) on another Giacometti, a 1950 bronze, titled, Chariot, though he appeared to be without any visible competition, as he bid via phone at Sotheby’s evening Impressionist sale.