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Jean-Michel Basquiat: Charles The First - Unsigned Print

Charles The First
Unsigned Print

Jean-Michel Basquiat

POA

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Screenprint, 2004
Unsigned Print Edition of 85
H 155cm x W 122cm

Critical Review

The allusions to superheroes, including Thor, whose name is written beneath a crown on the left panel, and Superman via the singular S which appears across the image in various guises, reinforces the sense of adulation. The conflation of Charlie Parker with King Charles I is another instance of Basquiat inserting Black icons into narratives of nobility and royalty.

The writing which appears at the bottom left of the piece (“most young kings get their head cut off”) alludes to both the beheading of Charles I in 1649 at the age of 24, and the death of the aforementioned musician who died at the age of 34. The triptych contains striking biographical detail: for example, the name of Parker’s daughter Pree appears in the central panel.

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