Yoko Ono’s Basquiat Canvas Seen Fetching $12 Million at Auction

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  • Basquiat prices have soared at auction in recent years
  • In May, one of his paintings sold for a record $110 million

A painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat from the collection of Yoko Ono is heading to auction.

The work, titled “Cabra," may sell for as much as $12 million at Sotheby’s contemporary art sale in New York on Nov. 16, the auction house said Thursday. 

Cabra by Basquiat

Source: Sotheby’s

Basquiat, who died at the age of 27 in 1988, is breaking records in the art world. In May, one of his paintings fetched $110.5 million at Sotheby’s, the highest price for any American artist at auction. A 1982 Basquiat canvas depicting boxer Sugar Ray Robinson sold for about $24 million last year. The first major U.K. exhibition of his works is now on view at the Barbican Art Gallery in London.

“I have had the pleasure of owning and living with this masterwork for over two decades,” Ono said in a statement. “The time has come for it to find a new home.”

Ono bought the painting from art dealer Tony Shafrazi in 1993, according to Sotheby’s. Basquiat created the image, which depicts a skull with horns, between 1981 and 1982 as a tribute to Muhammad Ali. The artist named it for the Spanish word for "goat," but also meant it as an acronym for “Greatest of All Time,” an Ali nickname, Sotheby’s said.

Some proceeds from the sale will benefit Spirit Foundation, the charitable organization founded by Ono and John Lennon in 1978, Sotheby’s said. The auction house guaranteed Ono an undisclosed minimum price regardless of whether the works sells or not.

The Basquiat is being shown at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong through Oct. 2. It will be displayed in London from Oct. 6-8 and return to New York for exhibition at Sotheby’s starting on Nov. 3.

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