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Artist Basquiat's early works to be on exhibit, auction in New York



(Reuters) - Early works by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, known for his provocative, powerful and sometimes controversial paintings, will be exhibited and sold in online and in-house auctions in March, Christie's said on Friday.

Approximately 50 works that the Brooklyn-born artist, who burst onto the New York art scene more than 30 years ago, left to his former lover, Alexis Adler, will be included in the exhibit that opens on March 1 in New York.

Adler, an embryologist at New York University's School of Medicine, shared an apartment with Basquiat on New York's Lower East Side from 1979 to 1980, when he was a struggling artist.

"I loved Jean and Jean loved me. We had our moment together here on 12th Street and I'll always have that, but it's time to share," said Adler, 57, who still lives in the apartment.

He could not afford supplies and painted on the walls, doors, refrigerator and even on Adler's coat - a gold garment she plans to wear to the exhibit opening, she said in an interview.

Three of Basquiat's most sought-after works will be on auction at Christie's on March 6. An untitled mural painted on a door with the words "Famous Negro Athletes" is expected to be the top seller with a pre-sale estimate of up to $1.2 million.

Other highlights are "Olive Oyl," a work on plaster which could fetch as much as $600,000, and "Milk," a painted radiator, expected to sell for up to $500,000.

Among 41 other works to be sold online March 2-17, are graffiti sketches priced as low as $2,000.

The exhibit and auctions come on the heels of record sales for post-war paintings. In November, Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud," at $142.4 million, became the most expensive work of art ever sold at Christie's in New York.

Basquiat, a friend of pop artist Andy Warhol, drew heavily on his Haitian and Puerto Rican roots. His career was the subject of a feature film and a documentary. He died in 1988 at the age of 27 of a heroin overdose.

"The sum total of these works provide an intimate view of Basquiat before his fame and while he was practicing graffiti in the streets and getting by on his own wits and the good will of others, who recognized his tremendous creative spark," said Jonathan Laib, Christie's senior specialist for post-war and contemporary art.

"They really describes this very particular period for the artist and for the Lower East Side art scene in New York City, which was so vibrant," he said.

Adler said she has always wanted to show and share Basquiat's artwork.

"I have so much, and it is just time for it to be released in the world," she said.

(Reporting By Marina Lopes; editing by Patricia Reaney and Gunna Dickson)

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jbroskoski3 February 02 2014 at 2:00 PM

looks like something a kid would draw in nursery school...that crap is honestly some of the worst "art" that I've ever seen....

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todd February 02 2014 at 1:26 PM

Didn't he (Basquiat) and Madonna live together at one time? I know they were friends/lovers or something of that sort.?

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yamaniiman February 02 2014 at 12:35 PM

As a young girl growing up, my parents used to tell me a phrase over and over again..."Friends will lead you astray but they would never be able to bring you back". That resonates with me today and forever. I trust people only to a point. I have seen the best friends falter. Basquait's circles had the money and the drugs. He left his family to cuddle under the fake "friends" warmth of deception and drug addiction. No one who truly loves you watches you walk off a cliff. But his friends did. His ability to be an eccentric artist was a common denominator which allowed him to hang with the elite. Fame costs... Fame is what you work for no matter the costs. Everyone knows the lessons learnt when you're in too deep. YOU CAN'T GET OUT.
I viewed the documentary about his brief life with my 14 year old and I showed her the things my parents taught me and how they applied to him. Talk to your children daily...their gifts might cause them to fall into the wrong hands. Teach them the warning signs. Drugs take you away to a place never to return.

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homeskig February 02 2014 at 12:30 PM

Long Live Basquiat!

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bmcdesoc February 02 2014 at 12:22 PM

Someone much sharper than me said it best, "Art is anything you can get away with."

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Today's antr day February 02 2014 at 12:11 PM

J.G.Herder (1744-1803) said (paraphrased) that art should be judged on its legitimate contextual ground of validity, which is for its capacity to form a moral character.
Are we listening to the great minds of Western Thought or to the stupidity of our contemporary culture, or perhaps to Christie'sauctioneers?
Ask yourself: How does contemporary art conetribute to a better world?
The impoverished mind of these kind of artists can only tell us in what world they belong. Sad, very sad. Keep supporting this kind ofcraziness but do not complain about the world we live in.
If you want to learn about the making of a great artist, read the introduction of the book "Of Arteology" By Raffaele Martini Pandozy -- Sculptor and Ph.D. in art education. You can download it for free in his website martinipandozy-artaboutart.com

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homeskig February 02 2014 at 12:29 PM

I don't need to know great art or artists by reading a book. You miss the point.

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rayers123 February 02 2014 at 12:08 PM

POWERFUL ARTIST.

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Natalie February 02 2014 at 12:00 PM

Basquiat was a drug addicted young musician who couldn't get anywhere so he decided to turn his graffiti into a commercial entity by scribbling on paper and selling it . Of course Warhol , in his contempt for traditional society liked it (or should I say , "liked him") and the story is now familiar to all. Basquiat's talent and fame is all political. Basquiat hung around the streets of New York and rubbed shoulders with all the popular ones into whose circle he was admitted. No female artist of that time could have accomplished such a task. However, being so self indulgent ended in Basquiat falling on his self indulgent ass and overdosing at 27. There is nothing brilliant in this life's story except the brilliance of the gallery owners' marketing in order to make money. There is no artistic integrity in his design or color combination. His druggie attempts at scribbling to fool the public, did just that....but it does not fool all. By the way, I am an artist who works hard and long to produce art.

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homeskig February 02 2014 at 12:22 PM

Judging by you're comments you, my friend are NOT an artist. I sense a bit of bitterness in what you say. And you don't understand artistic integrity which you have none of. Don't embarrass the rest of us who make attempts to be creative by calling yourself an artist.

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Natalie February 02 2014 at 2:59 PM

You dont know me so you do not know if I have or have not "artistic integrity". If you knew who I was you would probably be fawning all over me and my art. duh!!!

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itacurubi February 02 2014 at 12:44 PM

" There is no artistic integrity in his design or color combination." That's a nonsensical statement.

Perhaps you ought to consider painting a still life with sour grapes.

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Natalie February 02 2014 at 2:57 PM

it is only nonsensical because you do not or cannot understand it!!! duh!

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don February 02 2014 at 11:39 AM

Another artist taken to soon, unfortunately to a desire and love of drugs. If he had only managed to clean up and get sober, I can only imagine how he would have turned out. God bless the art world for the short time we had Jean-Michel Basquiat. My his art now fill many homes with Love and Understanding.

Don Andrews
Artist - Florida

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mail4milinda February 02 2014 at 11:21 AM

So great to see appreciation or this man's art. I saw the movies and it was educational and entertaining.

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weather February 02 2014 at 3:55 PM

all alot of **** art has more integrity.this is garbage art is about culture and masters of the mediums.that can produce everlasting images!

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