Basquiat’s iconic masterpiece expected to fetch $30m at Christie’s Auction

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s iconic masterpiece, “The Italian Version of Popeye Has No Pork in His Diet,” is set to make waves at Christie’s auction house in New York on May 14, reports. Anticipated to command a staggering $30 million, this 1982 stretcher-bar painting epitomises Basquiat’s unparalleled creativity at the pinnacle of his career.

Measuring five-by-five-feet, the artwork is adorned with Basquiat’s hallmark motifs, including his crown symbol and striking anatomical imagery, interwoven with crossed-out words, creating a captivating visual narrative. Previously exhibited in Milan in 2007, the piece emerges from a private collection, adding to its allure.

Alex Rotter, Christie’s chairman of 20th- and 21st-century art, lauded the painting as “Basquiat’s finest stretcher-bar work,” praising its frenetic composition and rich symbolism that draw inspiration from a myriad of cultural influences.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Italian Version of Popeye has no Pork in his Diet (1982) Image: Christie’s Images Ltd.

Basquiat’s prominence extends beyond Christie’s auction, with Phillips and Sotheby’s also set to showcase his seminal pieces next month. Three early Basquiat paintings from anthropologist Francesco Pellizzi’s collection are expected to fetch over $60 million collectively, while a Basquiat-Warhol collaboration from 1984 is estimated at $18 million.

Basquiat’s legacy as a trailblazing Neo-expressionist artist endures, his provocative exploration of power dynamics and social issues, notably racism, resonating with audiences worldwide. Despite his untimely death at 27 in 1988, Basquiat’s impact remains profound, with his oeuvre continuing to captivate both the art world and popular culture alike.

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