Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of a handful of late-20th-century artists with near-universal name recognition.
Before his tragic death at 27, Basquiat helped define New York’s cultural landscape during a gritty-yet-glam moment between the funk and grime of the late 1970s and the money-hungry consumer culture that would dominate the 1980s.
Basquiat’s inimitable style was realized across an array of formats and media: graphic street art, traditional portraiture, punk-edged postcards and large-scale murals. Pairing contemporary painting with a personal universe of symbols, numbers, words and diagrams, he devised a highly individualized style that still feels valuable and relevant.
“His work is provocative and causes you to dig deep and really think about what is on that page,” says his sister, Jeanine Heriveaux. “Jean-Michel painted about topics and opinions and issues that we, as a human family, are still grappling with today.”