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Jean-Michel Basquiat


Information about the artwork

  • Translated titleUntitled
  • Year1983
  • Material3 parts; acrylic and oilstick on canvas
  • Dimensions243.8 x 62 cm
  • Year of acquisition2001
  • Inventory numberUAB 20
  • On viewGround floor

More about the artwork

At first glance, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings are reminiscent of graffiti. His pictorial language is restless and sketch-like. This three-part painting presents us with text fragments, layers of paint, crosshatchings, loosely drawn forms, bodies, and especially skulls, whose depiction bears witness to Basquiat’s obsessive study of anatomy textbooks. The female body on the left panel was inspired by Pablo Picasso’s “Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon” (1907)—an icon of modern art which, in turn, drew upon art from the African continent and the Iberian Peninsula. Figures such as Nero, Icarus, Miles Davis, and Marco Polo, whose names populate Basquiat’s paintings, also offer a glimpse into his artistic horizon, which ranges from European art and cultural history to African-American counterculture. Basquiat makes use of these disparate elements in his work, evoking jazz’s strategies of improvisation. He plays with various forms of cultural appropriation and makes this reflection the subject of his own work.

Further artworks

Artwork: "Thermopylae (Meudon)" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Thermopylae (Meudon), 1990 yes Upper floor
Artwork: "Rotalla" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Rotalla, 1986/1990 yes Upper floor
Artwork: "Untitled" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Untitled, 1958 yes Upper floor
Artwork: "Historical Suit" from Pope.L
Pope.L Historical Suit, 1991-2019 yes Ground floor
Artwork: "Untitled" from Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly Untitled, 2003 yes Lower level