Jean-Michel Basquiat :: Untitled (Skull) from 1981
Jean-Michel Basquiat became a star of the art world in the 1980s. He grew up in New York and started making a name for himself through his collaborative graffiti project SAMO. In 1980, SAMO was dead and a young Basquiat was poised to take the art world by storm. His biography is the kind of story one would find hard to believe if laid out as the plot to a book or movie. He showed tremendous promise from an early age. He learned to read and write by the age of four. His mother nurtured his talents taking him to museums, providing him books to read to feed his appetite for more learning. Unfortunately, by his teenage years, while he was fluent in 3 languages, he was also struggling with his mother's mental illness and the need for her to be in care away from the family. He was a high school dropout and homeless in the late 1970s, but in the 1980s, he was painting in expensive Armani suits and throwing hundred dollar bills out of his limo to panhandlers on the street. In 2017, one of Basquiat's paintings set a record for the most expensive painting by an American artist when it sold for $110.5 million.