Christie's upcoming Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction will showcase a monumental work by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Done almost twenty years ago at the peak of his creative sojourn and fame, the painting serves as an epitome of his signature style in terms of in both ambition and scale. ‘Dustheads’, executed with a combustive palette, becomes a sort of intuitive, gorgeously gestural whirlwind during the creative heights of his practice. It is expected to break Basquiat’s earlier record ($26.4 million), achieved in November 2012 in New York, with an estimated value of $25-35 million.
- Monumental, yet intensely personal, Dustheads succinctly captures the vitality and vivacity of Basquiat’s artistic practice during this key period of the artist’s career. The pair of ghost-like figures portrayed in Dustheads is composed of a rich symphony of brushstrokes and marks that Basquiat draws together into an opus of line, color and form.
- Composed of broad brushstrokes of acrylic paint, entwined with expressive scrawls of oilstick plus accents of spray enamel and metallic paint, the resulting marks vary greatly in their variety, depth and rhythmic clarity. Expressionist in its exuberance, the frenetic brushwork acts as the framework for the rest of the composition, built up methodically through layers of drips, scrawls and passages of pigment massaged with the artists own fingers.
- Basquiat had always been considered an outsider by the art world establishment, yet the everlasting power, relevance and integrity of his work have gradually identified him as the creative leader of his generation. Only since Pollock has a painter come to personify such artistic freedom and irreverence. Dustheads, a portrait of two figures doped up on 'angel dust', exemplifies Basquiat's artistic creation with 'no strings attached'. It's perhaps the last great masterpiece to come to auction,” stated Loic Gouzer, International Specialist of Post-War and Contemporary Art.
Set against a bewildering backdrop of intense, inky blackness, the brightly painted figures it embodies Basquiat’s painterly oeuvre. A masterpiece from a key year in his career, this painting stands for his ability to combine raw expressive emotion even while displaying a deft draughtmanship unrivaled in modern painting.(Information courtesy: Christie’s)