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One obvious outcome of the May sales in New York will be enlarged expectations for Jean-Michel Basquiat's market. The painter who died in the 1980s has moved up the value ladder in progressive stages over the last decade.
With the shock and awe of the record $110m sale at Sotheby's, there will be more activity that follows. We've looked at the sales history of Basquiat's work and it is by no means a foregone conclusion that the two record prices paid in the last year will continue.
The pressing issue is whether there is a broader Basquiat market at this new level beyond Yasuku Maezawa who paid $167m for two paintings in the last year. There are indications that others are willing to pay higher prices for Basquiat's work demonstrated the night before the record sale when the painter's work Untitled (La Hara,) above, was bought for $35m.
If we look at the overall sales for 2017, we can see that the average price for a Basquiat work rose sharply due to the $110m sale. But without that one work, the average price for the 24 works sold so far in 2017 drops back down to $3.4m or slightly lower than the previous year as you can see in the chart below.
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