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Comeback Kid Basquiat’s Canvas Boosts $229 Million U.K. Auctions

  • Works by Richter, Ghenie surpass their presale estimates
  • Historically low pound fosters bidding from U.S., Asia, Europe
Jean-Michel Basquiat's Hannibal.

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Hannibal.

Source: Sotheby via Bloomberg

A painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that failed to sell at Sotheby’s 11 months ago became the comeback kid of the $229 million Frieze week auctions in London, where historically low sterling and strong global demand for contemporary art boosted market confidence.

On Friday, the 1982 work “Hannibal” -- starring the artist’s signature skull and crown surrounded by scribbles on orange background -- was chased by at least seven bidders to reach 10.6 million pounds ($13.2 million) at Sotheby’s, more than double its presale high estimate of 4.5 million pounds. The work drew no bids in November when it was pegged at as much as $12 million at a Sotheby’s sale in the U.S.