"The genius of Basquiat is undeniable. His presence and influence break boundaries, spanning fashion, art, and pop culture. The impact that he continues to have on culture is inescapable, and only continues to expand. "El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile) "is a true masterwork. Painted when Basquiat was just 22, this seminal triptych perfectly illustrates the specific and nuanced way the young artist grappled with the process of understanding and unpacking historical constructs of race on a global stage. "El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile)" is simply unmatched in both caliber and provenance and we are so pleased to announce it as the leading highlight this May," Alex Rotter, Christie's Chairman of 20th and 21st Century Art, said.
"El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile)," also known as "Untitled (History Of Black People)," is estimated to be worth nearly $45M.
El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile) by Jean-Michel Basquiat
The second, "Now's The Time," Basquiat's work in honor of Charlie Parker's album of the same name, is expected to fetch over $30M at Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Auction in New York.
"With only three words – 'Now's The Time' – Basquiat not only pays homage to Charlie Parker, the legendary jazz musician who greatly influenced his work, but also announces his own arrival with the pantheon of Black artistic icons that he admired. It is a daring claim by the young artist at the absolute height of his power – and today, when his artistic vernacular is so universally renowned, the starkly black and minimal vinyl record is an undeniable standout and iconic masterwork of Basquiat's career," Kelsey Lenoard, the head of Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Auction said of the work.
The auction will take place on May 18, and "Now's The Time" is on display at the Sotheby's Los Angeles galleries until April 24, and then in New York beginning on May 6.