Every rapper’s favorite bygone Pop-Art wunderkind, Basquiat is in the news, or at least his estate is. According to a report in the NY Times, Basquiat’s estate will be suing auction house Christie’s for the cool sum of $1 million. The auction house has been g-checked for selling works by the artists that have been deemed illegitimate by Basquiat’s estate, chiefly the artist’s sisters, Jeanine Basquiat Heriveaux and Lisane Basquiat. Prior to this legal dust-up, the pieces being offered for purchase were said to have gone through authentication which the Basquiat sisters and estate refute. They note that back in 2007 six pieces had been authenticated but the rest of the catalog had not been submitted.
“Christie’s attempts to deceive and mislead the public into believing that the Estate authorized the reproduction of the artwork in the Catalog and that therefore the Catalog Items are authentic.”
The pieces in question were part of a collection of works provided by Alexis Adler. If the name sounds familiar it’s because back in 2013, much to the delight of Basquiat buffs, Adler unveiled a large number of early never-before-seen works by a young Jean-Michel. Including everything from sketches, to photographs by the artist, to the artist’s early post card and painted clothing, in addition to slides of early sculptural work.
You can check out the pieces in question here, provided by the Christie’s website. Our summation is, in all honesty that if this drags out, Christie’s could probably flip a couple of these jammies and toss some duckets the way of the Basquiat Estate. But if we want to be morally astute, Christie’s should work with the estate to legitimize any of the pieces in question and get this right, otherwise Jay and Swizz are about to be very upset.