J. Levine to Auction Rarely Seen Jean-Michel Basquiat Painting on May 11

06 May
"Untitled," an abstract and unfinished painting, by Jean-Michel Basquiat is up for auction on May 11. This piece was uncovered in a seized storage unit auction in 2012 and was recently inherited. It is accompanied with documentation and chain of custody paperwork leading back to its purchase from Basquiat. (PRNewsfoto/J. Levine Auction & Appraisal

“Untitled,” an abstract and unfinished painting, by Jean-Michel Basquiat is up for auction on May 11. This piece was uncovered in a seized storage unit auction in 2012 and was recently inherited. It is accompanied with documentation and chain of custody paperwork leading back to its purchase from Basquiat. (PRNewsfoto/J. Levine Auction & Appraisal)

Painting has documentation leading to its original purchase directly from Basquiat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.May 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — An untitled and possibly incomplete Jean-Michel Basquiat painting is up for auction until Friday, May 11, 2018 at 12 p.m. PT by J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, a Scottsdale-based auction house. Online bidding is available now and a free, public preview will take place on Thursday, May 10 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. No photography will be permitted at this event. The auction house is located in the Scottsdale Quarter shopping center at 15323 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 105. Bidders must be pre-approved in order to place a bid. Phone bidding also available.

The abstract, untitled mixed media painting measures 64 x 48 inches and depicts a New York cityscape and helicopter in hues of blue and purple and appears to be unfinished. An accompanying appraisal report by Art Encounter’s Brett K. Maly, a certified appraiser, uncovered that “the work was composed in Venice, CA, in 1982, and is possibly unfinished. Basquiat would often work on several paintings at once, and it was not uncommon for him to abandon initial compositions, or revisit them.”

“The unknown of this painting captured me,” says owner and CEO of J. Levine Auction, Josh Levine. “It makes you wonder what Basquiat was thinking, experiencing and what he envisioned for this piece.”

“Untitled” is accompanied with documentation that follows its chain of custody. The appraisal report revealed, “the painting was originally purchased directly from the artist, as part of a group of Basquiat artworks, in 1982, by Emmy-winning television producer Thaddeus ‘Thad’ Mumford. The works were subsequently stored by Mr. Mumford at Ortiz Brothers Moving and Storage [in Los Angeles, CA.] However, the contents were seized for non-payment and subsequently auctioned, through Barzman Auctions, in 2012. The work was purchased by my clients at that auction.” Documentation includes ASA Appraisal Report, documented chain of custody, Committee Letter, Bill of Sale and Affidavit.

Basquiat has become more infamous since his untimely death in 1988 and as a result his auction records have soared. His latest auction record of $110.5 million in 2017 surpassed his previous record of $57.3 million just the year before.

For the current state of the Basquiat enthralled art world, this piece has had a surprisingly sheltered past. After the auction, the piece was virtually untouched until the consignor inherited it from his father. “My father was somewhat of an amateur treasurer hunter. He loved bidding on abandoned storage lockers for the thrill and just happened to bid on the locker that hid these works,” says the consignor. He adds, “through my acquisition of these artworks, I have grown to appreciate Basquiat’s raw talent and the place of prominence he now enjoys among 20th Century American artists. I am excited to share these pieces with the world.” The consignor will also donate 5% of his proceeds from the sale to the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA, reminiscent of his family’s effort to handle overflow from local animal shelters as a kid.

For more information, visit www.jlevines.com/basquiat/ or call 480.935.2052.

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