Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 painting of a skull brought $110.5 million at Sotheby’s.
Vibrant, “Untitled” portrait achieved the sixth-highest price for any work of art at auction. Only 10 other works have broken the $100 million mark. The sale of the painting made for a thrilling moment at Sotheby’s postwar and contemporary auction that included four participants beyond the $60 million pre-sale estimate.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa revealed himself to be the buyer through a post on his Instagram account. “I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece,” he said in the post. “When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible.”
Maezawa is one of the country’s richest people. The founder of online fashion site Zozotown, valued at $3.6 billion by Forbes, is also an avid contemporary art collector. In 2016, he spent $98 million on several pieces within two days – including another Basquiat work, for which he paid $57.3 million.