Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (Skull) is a 1981 painting that depicts an X-ray-like skull with bones showing through the surface, sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s in 2017. The painting showcases Basquiat’s unique style and his important theme of reclamation of black cultural identity, symbolized by his depictions of skulls that are connected to African masks. The incomplete depiction adds to the mysterious aura surrounding the skull.
Basquiat was a prodigy in the emerging New York underground art scene of the 1980s and rose to become one of its most influential figures. His work features important symbols and interpretations, including his crown motif, which often represents a message about authority or power dynamics.
Sadly, Basquiat passed away from a drug overdose at only 28 years old in 1988. Nevertheless, he continues to inspire artists around the globe with his impact on art history as well as social justice movements revolving around race within society. Today, Untitled (Skull) stands out as one of the most expensive paintings ever acquired and serves as a reminder of Basquiat’s profound influence in contemporary art world even after all these years since its initial creation over three decades ago.