The American graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was all over the press like a rash last month with the sale of two major paintings from the collection of Lars Ulrich the drummer from the heavy metal band Metallica. Basquiat’s “Profit I” was the top lot in Christie’s Post-War and contemporary sale on 14 May, making $5,509,500 (£3,773,630). He has been rising up the charts for some time now but this new stardom will doubtless accelerate his prices, already high because he died young of a heroin overdose in 1988; there was no large estate and his work tended to go straight from into private collections. Hamiltons have been quick on the uptake with a show of eight major paintings (20 June-9 August) plus works on paper. It is no mean feat to get together such a large body of work from private collections. If you were the disappointed underbidder on Ulrich’s “Profit I” there is plenty of equally disturbing imagery to chose from here.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Jean-Michel Basquiat'