Metallica’s drummer to sell Basquiat painting at Christie’s New York, November 12th auction; ‘Boxer’ to be displayed during Frieze Art Fair in London

October 15th, 2008

Untitled (1982) (known unofficially as The Boxer) by Basquiat, via

Lars Ulrich, drummer for heavy metal band Metallica and erstwhile art collector, is putting up an untitled Basquiat painting up for sale in New York through Christie’s.  Known as ‘The Boxer,’ it depicts a triumphant black boxer with arms raised, painted in Basquiat’s signature style: very raw with elements of graffiti and ‘primitive’ aesthetics. The painting was a feature of the Basquiat retrospective shown at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in 2005.  Christie’s will be putting ‘Boxer’ on sale on November 12th, and will display it in London over the weekend of October 17th to coincide with the Frieze art fair, when collectors will converge en masse in London.

Basquiat’s ‘Boxer’ is expected to sell for $12 to $16 million, with some estimates going as high as $20 million. Given the art market’s recent performance, it remains to be seen if the auction will break the artist’s previous record of $14.6 million for an unnamed painting from 1981. Nevertheless, given the fact that Basquiat has a limited, in-demand body of work due to a premature demise, pricing is still expected to be at the higher end of estimates.

Brooklyn Museum: Basquiat Retrospective with biographical information
Metallica Drummer to Sell Basquiat ‘Boxer’
[New York Times]
Another Rock Star Auctioning Off His Rare Basquiat
[New York Observer]
Metallica Drummer Puts $12 Million `Boxer’ Basquiat Up for Sale
Metallica drummer to sell Basquiat painting in NYC
[Washington Post]
Musician selling a Basquiat at Christie’s
[Crain's New York]
Good as Gold
[Art Market Monitor]

‘Untitled (Skull)
‘ (1981) by Jean Michel Basquiat, via Wikimedia

Jean Michel Basquiat, via the Brooklyn Museum

Jean Michel Basquiat was an American painter of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, who began his career as a graffiti artist in the 1970s. By 1981 he had made a name for himself in the downtown New York City art scene, and catapulted to fame after articles in Artforum and the New York Times. Along the way he formed a band with Vincent Gallo, starred in Blondie’s “Rapture” video, dated a then unknown Madonna, and became a leading proponent of what is now known as neo-expressionism. His style combined a number of aesthetics and artistic styles, incorporating influences from anatomical textbooks, collage, graffiti and Africa filtered through his Haitian and Puerto Rican roots. Basquiat passed away in 1988 at 27 years old following a drug overdose, but has had a lasting influence on the art world.

Untitled‘ (1982) by Jean Michel Basquiat, via Wikimedia

‘ by Jean Michel Basquiat, up for auction at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Auction, via Christie’s

‘Flexible’ (1984) by Basquiat, via the Brooklyn Museum

‘In Italian‘ (1983) by Jean Michel Basquiat, via the Brooklyn Museum

‘Untitled’ (1982) by Jean Michel Basquiat, via the Brooklyn Museum