Everyone’s trying to make a little extra cash in these tough economic times. If only we were all rock stars with rare paintings on our hands!
Back in June, we told you about how U2 bassist Adam Clayton was auctioning off a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died of a drug overdose in 1988, at Sotheby’s in London. Now Metallica durmmer Lars Ulrich is doing the same thing, but this time at Christie’s in New York, The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting today. According to The Times: “The Basquiat, which goes on the block Nov. 12, depicts a victorious black boxer, his hands waving in the air, against a richly painted background filled with the artist’s signature graffiti scrawl. The figure is part hero, part warrior, part victim. It is also said to be autobiographical.”
Apparently the 1982 painting, which Mr. Ulrich bought in 1999 after seeing it on display in Vienna, is expected to fetch between $12 million and $16 million, which could set a new high for the sale of a Basquiat (the current record is $14.6 million for “a primitive figure with clenched teeth, his oversize hands held high in the air” from 1981, and Mr. Clayton’s Basquiat painting sold for a little over $8 million this summer).
Mr. Ulrich acknowledged the potential downsides of holding an auction on the cusp of the new Great Depression: “Of course it’s an awkward time to sell, but I’ve always been about taking chances,” he said.
Will more rock stars with Basquiat paintings be following Mr. Clayton’s and Mr. Ulrich’s lead? As they say, two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend!