Jean-Michel Basquiat Market Watch 2023

A woman standing beside and gazing at a large black rounded canvas resembling a record player. The artwork displays the phrase ”NOW'S THE TIME ©"Image © Sotheby’s / Now’s The Time / Jean-Michel Basquiat 1985
Rebecca Marsham

Rebecca Marsham, Sales Director[email protected]

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Jean-Michel Basquiat, a truly iconic figure in the art world, has established a lasting posthumous legacy and artistic imprint that continues to captivate audiences on a global scale. In this comprehensive market report we take a retrospective look at his art market performance in 2023. We delve into the highly prolific sales of paintings and prints during the Spring auctions, examining the artist's unwavering media presence in 2023, with a focus on LVMH in Paris and Art Basel in Switzerland. Additionally, we showcase his most valuable print works and ongoing market trends.

Read MyArtBroker's 2024 Basquiat Investment Guide.

Discover Basquiat's dominant presence in the 2023 art market in The Art Investment Report. Explore the most investable prints from Basquiat's trending series on the MAB100 Print Market Index.

Basquiat Print Market Five Year Performance: 2017 - H1 2023

A stacked bar graph depicting the quarterly sales turnover and transaction volume of Jean-Michel Basquiat over a five-year period from 2017 to 2023.Basquiat Quarterly Print Sales and Transaction Volume, 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2023

Basquiat Print Market H1 2023: Quarterly Sales

In H1 2023 we reviewed Basquiat's five year print market performance on a quarterly basis, which revealed consistent patterns aligned with transaction volume. Q4 stands out as the strongest quarter, achieving £6.5 million through 44 works. Q2 follows closely with £2.7 million from 28 works. Q1 and Q3 perform as expected, with lower turnover due to fewer transactions.

Quarterly data exhibits a consistent year-on-year (YoY) pattern with fluctuations driven by artwork distribution and inclusion of trophy lots during specific quarters, particularly Q2 and Q4 coinciding with major auction events. However, alternative options, like online platforms such as MyArtBroker, offer flexibility beyond peak auction seasons, allowing strategic timing for selling artwork based on market fluctuations and professional guidance to optimise your sale.

 A double line graph illustrating Jean-Michel Basquiat's total year-on-year print performance and sales volume over a five-year period from 2017 to 2023.Basquiat Total Print Sales x Volume, 2017 -2023 © MyArtBroker 2023

Basquiat Print Market H1 2023: Total Sales

Yearly analysis of Basquiat's print market shows varying performances, with 2018, 2020, and 2022 standing out as the most successful, featuring consecutive growth rates. In 2020, sales turnover surged by 34% compared to 2018, while 2022 saw a modest 2% increase over 2020. These strong years had lower transaction volumes, contrasting with higher volumes in 2019 and 2021, leading to lower sales turnover.

Basquiat's 2023 year-to-date (YTD) print performance boasts seven successful sales, totalling £261,882. Potential seven-figure prints entering the market in the remaining quarters could maintain this upward trend seen in 2022.

Notably, significant value increases often occur with set sales, but Basquiat's market surges are primarily driven by individual sales. These fluctuations indicate that strategically offering rare trophy lots can yield substantial returns, supported by a healthy average selling price compund annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 23% over a five year period for Basquiat prints, potentially resulting in £150,000+ returns for the right print in good condition.

A stacked bar graph of Jean-Michel Basquiat's quaterly paintings sales and transaction volume over the five-year period from 2017 to 2023. Basquiat Quarterly Paintings Sales and Transaction Volume, 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2023

Basquiat Paintings Market Five Year Performance: 2017 - H1 2023

Basquiat Paintings Market H1 2023: Quarterly Sales

Basquiat's quarterly sales in the paintings market consistently show a strong link between yearly sales total and volume of sales.

Similarly to Basquiat's print market, Q2 and Q4 stand out as the most successful quarters, achieving impressive five-year sales totals of £520 million and £294 million, respectively. This similarity is likely due to a shared characteristic in both Basquiat's paintings and print markets: the appearance of high-quality works trophy works that command substantial prices, leading to the observed surges in these quarters. It could also be attributed to strategic scheduling by auction houses or collectors who understand the best times to sell. In any case, these well-established patterns contribute to the overall strength and stability of Basquiat's market.

A double line graph representing Jean-Michel Basquiat's sales of paintings and the volume of sales over a five-year period from 2017 to 2023.Basquiat Total Paintings Sales x Volume, 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2023

Basquiat Paintings Market: Total Sales

Basquiat's paintings market witnessed a resurgence in 2021, driven by the sale of his third highest-selling work, In This Case (1983), which fetched an impressive £65.7 million (including fees) at Christie's in May. This event marked a turning point for the market after experiencing an average -34% YoY decline from 2017 to 2020. The sale of In This Case significantly raised the value of individual works, boosting the yearly average selling price (ASP) from £3.2 million to £12.4 million.

This increased attention continued into 2022, with the ASP remaining nearly unchanged YoY. While the early sales totals was lower, the high ASP in 2022 underscores the demand for rare and high-priced works.

Investors with the financial capacity to hold their purchases for an extended period can find significant opportunities in the paintings market. The market has demonstrated an average selling price CAGR of nearly 13%, offering the potential for healthy returns on individual works. However, it's essential to note that the market's price distribution is heavily influenced by rare and high-value works meaning that profitable returns typically accrue over a considerable period of appreciating value, emphasising the importance of these pieces in shaping market dynamics.

Download THE AMERICAN POP REPORT for in-depth insights into Basquiat's painting and print market, along with comprehensive analysis of market trends spanning the past five years.


Exhibitions and Auction Sales

Basquiat’s enduring international presence has caught the attention of art enthusiasts and experts alike, as he kicked off 2023 with two highly acclaimed exhibitions. In collaboration with the renowned Andy Warhol, the notable show is being held at the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris and will continue throughout the summer. Additionally, Basquiat’s family, who manage his estate, has curated an exceptional collection of over 200 previously unseen works in Downtown Los Angeles, California.

The first half of 2023 witnessed a remarkable surge of Basquiat’s works entering the secondary market. The April Phillips sale, featuring editions and works on paper, presented eight pieces, each surpassing its high estimate. Notably, four were anatomy works, making their inaugural appearance at auction.

The much-discussed “Battle of the Basquiats’’ occurred during the May evening sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s in New York, garnering significant attention. Christie’s offering, El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile) (1983), achieved a remarkable price of $67 million (USD) (including fees), while Sotheby’s sale of Nows The Time (1985) realised $28.6 million (USD) (including fees). These two works were among several other high-performing Basquiat pieces featured during the evening auctions.

El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile) by Jean-Michel Basquiat - Christie's 2023Image © Christie's / El Gran Espectaculo (The Nile) © Jean-Michel Basquiat 1983

Provenance and Single-Owner Collections

The appearance of Basquiat’s works has undeniably generated a tremendous buzz within the art world. The provenance of these pieces adds an extra layer of intrigue, as many of them are fresh to the market, emerging from previously undisclosed private collections. It brings to mind the notable Paul G. Allen sale in 2022, which undoubtedly contributed to the performance of individual artists' markets in 2022, serving as a notable example. Interestingly, a Basquiat work was not offered in this monumental sale, which could arguably explain a relatively quieter market performance in 2022.

However, amidst this backdrop, The Mo Ostin collection offered this year at Sotheby’s in May managed to unveil a fresh-to-the-market Basquiat work titled Moon View (1984), which achieved an impressive price of $10.8 million (USD) (including fees). It underscores the significance of works with a new provenance entering the market and how enticing they are to collectors and investors.

Furthermore, it is intriguing that only a limited number of works carry a direct provenance from Basquiat’s estate. With auction houses actively acquiring single-owner collections and the recent attention surrounding Basquiat’s estate-held exhibition in the United States, there is a distinct possibility that works with a fresh provenance will continue to emerge in the market from both these resources. This raises questions about their potential impact on the overall market dynamics and the reception they will receive from eager art enthusiasts and discerning collectors.

A vibrant painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat featuring a peach and blue background. The canvas is adorned with black and red scribbles, including various writings, symbols, and numbers. On the left side, there is a box with the word "PESO" above "NETO". In the center, a cartoon-like figure with stick legs, a ghostly face, yellow eyes, a wide grin, and a tall top hat can be seen. To the right of the painting, there is a United States dollar sign.Image © Christie's / The Guilt Of Gold Teeth © Jean-Michel Basquiat 1982


Exciting news surrounds Basquiat as he continues to make waves in the art world. Despite his already prominent presence in the recent May auctions and early Spring exhibitions, all eyes are now on the highly anticipated Art Basel 2023, starting this week from Thursday, 15 of June, through Sunday, the 18th. Basquiat takes centre stage once again, igniting two captivating discussions that have sparked even more excitement surrounding his market.

According to The Art Newspaper, there are rumours that Jeffrey Deitch will offer a rare Basquiat portrait titled Valentine (1983-84), depicting the artist and his girlfriend, Paige Powell. This remarkable artwork, gifted to Powell by Basquiat himself, has been held in her possession since its unveiling. Although the price estimate remains undisclosed, we will be eagerly anticipating the sale of this extraordinary piece.

In addition, The Art Newspaper reports that coinciding with the fair, The Foundation Beyler will present “Basquiat: The Modena Paintings,’’ an exhibition running until the 27th of August. This highly anticipated showcase promises to be spectacular, as it reunites eight large-scale canvases currently held in international private collections.

With the prints and paintings market historically aligned, we eagerly await to witness the cyclical effects of these remarkable events on the remaining quarters of Basquiat's market. The buzz surrounding these developments is palpable, and we can't wait to see how they further shape Basquiat's enduring artistic legacy.

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The Basquiat Market Recap 2023

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s print market possesses a distinctive character that sets it apart within the realm of art commerce. In contrast to his American Pop contemporaries, whose robust sales often hinge on complete sets, Basquiat’s print market derives its dynamism from sporadic appearances of trophy lots. With Basquiat having produced a limited number of prints during his brief lifetime, these rare artworks, when they do surface in the market, command substantial price points.

Over the past five years, Basquiat’s total print sales have displayed consistent fluctuations, moving between peaks and troughs while rebounding year-on-year (YoY). What’s particularly noteworthy is that the high-sales years are characterised by a lower sales volume, and conversely, years with higher sales volumes are marked by the emergence of high-value trophy lots. For instance, in 2022, Basquiat’s print market achieved £2.9 million (hammer) in sales. If this year’s market had adhered to the typical pattern observed over the preceding five years, 2023 might have yielded a significantly lower sales total.

However, 2023 proved to be a standout year for Basquiat, with his print market delivering £1.9 million (hammer) in total sales. While this figure falls short of the 2022 result, it remains an impressive 24% higher than the 2021 sales total, a testament to the enduring and upward momentum of his market.


Basquiat has firmly established himself as a luminous presence in the art world’s spotlight throughout 2023. The artistic magnetism that is quintessentially Basquiat is seen in his Anatomy works. In the Q2 April sales at Phillips, a collection of screenprints from this series took the spotlight. These iconic prints not only marked Basquiat’s debut in the print medium but also stood out for their rarity, with only 18 complete sets of the 18-print series in existence. Split into three separate lots, these prints exceeded expectations, surpassing their high estimates by a minimum of 1.6 times and collectively realising a staggering total of $149,860 (USD). As the year unfolded, Basquiat’s influence continued to expand and two trends developed: the prominence of trophy lots and the emergence of posthumous prints.

Trophy Lots

The most conspicuous trend within Basquiat’s market landscape revolves around trophy works. Throughout 2023, the art world eagerly anticipated the arrival of a standout print work that would break the million-dollar threshold. In November of Q4, the momentous unveiling occurred with Back of The Neck (1983). This piece graced the stage at William Doyle in New York, achieving a staggering $1.1 million (USD) in a triumphant moment. This sale marked several milestones, including the work’s first appearance since 2021, a new auction record, and its status as Basquiat’s top-selling print for 2023. It solidified Q4’s performance, accounting for a resounding 97% of total sales. Another record-breaking moment in Q4 was Per Capita (2001), portraying a prominent crown outlined in blue set against a red background with the word ‘ASBESTOS’ enclosed within a red square. This work achieved £74,371 (hammer) at SBI Art Auction in Tokyo, also setting a new auction record for the artwork.

Posthumous Prints

Also trending in Basquiat’s 2023 print market was the undeniable presence of his posthumous prints. Flexible (2016), produced by his estate in an edition of 85, consistently set new records against one another in seven consecutive sales. The highest-selling Flexible print and the new auction record was established in Q2 June at Sotheby’s Singapore, where it achieved a remarkable £221,776. Among other top-performing posthumous print sales, Daros Suite (2017) stood out achieving $119,700 (USD) at Phillips New York, making its complete set debut and setting a significant benchmark for its value. In April Q2, Cabeza (2005) realised $107,950 (USD) at Sotheby’s, marking the second highest selling price for this work. Similarly, Charles The First (2004) sold at Sotheby’s London, realising £60,960, also securing the second highest selling price for this artwork.

“(...) the crown sits securely on the head of Jean-Michel's repertory so that it is of no importance where he got it, bought it, or stole it; it's his. He won that crown.’’
Rene Ricard, December 1981 ArtForum


A distinctive aspect to Basquiat's print market is the posthumous production of many prints by his estate. This trend is noteworthy because, while prints made by the artist naturally hold more value, his posthumous prints have gained traction in 2023, often surpassing the worth of his acclaimed Anatomy works. These prints, based on iconic paintings, bear the signature of a member of Basquiat's estate. Commanding prices in the tens of thousands, we are closely observing these works and their potential impact on Basquiat's final print market performance by year-end.


Back Of The Neck

Back Of The Neck (1983) showcases large, distorted impressions of a muscular body in bold colours against a black background. In contrast to Basquiat's Anatomy series, which featured isolated and labeled body parts, this artwork combines various body parts, resulting in an unsettling fusion, such as a neck merging with an arm, each drawn disproportionately. This piece garnered widespread acclaim in 2023. It reappeared in Q4 at Williams Doyle in New York, marking its first appearance since 2021 and establishing a new auction record for this print. It ranked as Basquiat's top-selling print work in 2023, selling for £922,837.



Flexible (2016), portrays a West African griot, reflecting Basquiat's profound cultural ties. This figure, symbolising a tribal storyteller, showcases the artist's West African heritage, deepened by his visit to the region in 1986. Based on a wooden painting from Basquiat's studio, it exemplifies his innovative use of materials. Limited to 85 editions, signed by Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, administrators of his estate, this print has become highly coveted. In 2023, a hors commerce version achieved significant success, fetching £221,776 (with fees) at Sotheby's in Singapore, setting an auction record and becoming Basquiat's top-selling print for 2023.


Daros Suite

The Daros Suite prints, created after Basquiat's passing, are adapted from his series, The Daros Suite of Thirty-Two Drawings. These artworks capture Basquiat's signature chaos and intensity, portraying social and political contradictions. The imagery in these prints holds significance, representing icons recurrent in Basquiat's body of work. The complete set of four screenprints, part of a 50-edition series, is signed by administrators of Basquiat's estate. Daros Suite (2017), the complete set, has made a single appearance in the secondary market in 2023. This sale marked it as Basquiat's second top-selling print, underlining the appeal of his posthumous works.



Cabeza (2004) is another posthumous production. This unsigned print features a solitary figure set against a yellow-orange background portraying both internal and external organs. The word ”Aopkhes’’ is inscribed across the figure's chest, and a drawn circle hints at an Adam's apple. The figure wears a startled expression, a common theme in Basquiat's portraits. Cabeza echoes the iconic Dos Cabezas (1982) painting, a contemporary portrait with friend and contemporary Andy Warhol. Some editions of this work are signed by Gerhard Basquiat, the executor of Jean-Michel Basquiat Estate. Despite being unsigned, this version ranked as the third highest-selling print in Basquiat's 2023 top print sales, fetching £82,550 (with fees) at Sotheby's in September. This sale underscores the strong demand for both signed and unsigned versions of Basquiat's work.


Per Capita

Per Capita (2001), featuring a prominent blue-outlined crown against a red backdrop with the word 'ASBESTOS' enclosed in a red square, was created in 2001 by Basquiat's estate. This artwork, which has been rarely seen in the market, made a notable return at SBI Art Auctions in October in Tokyo. It achieved a remarkable sale of £85,558, marking its first appearance in the market since 2019 and setting a new auction record.


Our value index blends public auction data and private sales data from our Trading Floor network. Our market value index uses artwork & artist data and a Repeat-Sales Regression (RSR) approach. Using the sale price of individual prints to estimate the fluctuations in the value of an average representative print over a unique period of time.

Our algorithm tracks over 48,500 auction histories & our own private sales data across 3,500 artworks spanning 30 years, including signed, unsigned, APs, PPs, TPs and sets of prints & editions.

We use several metrics when comparing artists:

  1. Market Size: the total value in sales in £GBP over a given period.
  2. Transaction Volume: the total number of sales over a given period
  3. Average Sales Price (ASP): the average price of a sale over a given period.
  4. Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR): a measurement used to smoothen the annual growth rate over a given period.
  5. Year-on-Year (YoY): a direct comparison between the latest and previous years.

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