A Japanese billionaire bought a painting by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat for $110.5 million in NY on Thursday, setting a new auction record for the 20th century great almost 30 years after his death, Sotheby's said.
Achieving a record-shattering $110.5 million, Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled, 1982, led Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening sale on May 18.
The previous auction record for the artist was set last May when Untitled, 1982 sold for $US57.3 million, also to Maezawa.
The painting called "Untitled" features a skull with crown motifs and influences from Basquiat's early street art days which incorporates graffiti with neo-expressionalism during the 80s where Basquiat was growing up in NY.
The Basquiat propelled Sotheby's auction results to $319 million in sales, a 32 percent increase from a year ago.
The canvas was last bought in 1984 at Christie's for US$19,000. He became world-famous in his 20s, and dated Madonna for a short time in the early 1980s before she was famous.
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Basquiat, a native New Yorker, had been an artist for just seven years when he died in 1988 of a heroin overdose at 27.
Sotheby's global specialist of contemporary art and auctioneer, Oliver Barker, said: "Totally thrilling, I mean it really is such a privilege to have handled this extraordinary picture".
A Pablo Picasso work "The Women of Algiers" (Version 0) holds the world record for the heftiest price tag at auction at $179.4 million.
Maezawa said he intends to lend the work for public exhibitions before housing it in his own museum in his native Chiba, Japan.
Only ten other works have broken the $100 million mark.
"I've never seen so much emotion in such a painting", said Sotherby's head of contemporary art Gregoire Billault.
Sotheby's also sold Roy Lichtenstein's "Nude Sunbathing" on Thursday for $24m, which like many lots made its auction debut.
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