Jeffrey Deitch sold the Kehinde Wiley portrait of Michael Jackson for $175,000 at ArtBasel in Miami. Agence France Presse adds some color and detail to the whole tale:
“Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II,” commissioned by Jackson, who died on June 25, was sold to a German collector at the Art Basel show here, said Kathy Grayson from New York’s Deitch Projects gallery. The painting had been on display here until late Sunday. The large portrait, which Jackson never saw in its finished form, measures 3.51 meters (11.5 feet) by 3.1 meters (10.1 feet), and is the work of New York-based artist Kehinde Wiley.
“I was receiving messages saying Michael Jackson wants to reach you,” said Wiley of being commissioned for the work in 2008. “I ignored them because quite honestly I thought it was a prank,” she told the art show’s daily publication. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much input as I would have hoped for, but I think it’s something he would have been proud of.” After speaking with Jackson, Wiley sent him a number of historical paintings to base the painting on. “I think that his idea of collaborating with me was something that he really wanted to see through,” Wiley said. “I felt a responsibility to him to get it done (after he died),” she added.