Phillips to Offer Fresh-to-Market Drawings by Jean-Michel Basquiat in March New Now Sale

Seven Pages of Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, Featuring Hallmark Imagery from Basquiat’s Oeuvre

This work features inscriptions that would become iconic to Basquiat’s oeuvre. One of the pages feature the repetition of the word “Eroica” which predates a later series of larger paintings and collages Basquiat made in the ‘80s where the same word is displayed prominently in the foreground. Two of the works relate directly to music and musicians, an often-visited theme of Basquiat’s and aptly appropriate as a gift for Gun, who was also a musician.

On another of the pages, Basquiat depicts a figure that closely resembles Glass Nose, a large-scale painting by the artist executed in 1987, with the title likely being a play on the words ‘Glasnost’, a term used in the mid-1980s in reference to the revitalization of the Communist Party in support of the freedom of information. Both the drawing seen in Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails and the 1987 painting show the figure of a soldier eating a banana while highlighting a sense of relief, comedy, and social progress. Alongside this illustration is the atomic symbol, alluding to the growing fear of nuclear warfare during that time.

Allusions to the fax machine and the registered trademark symbol also figure in the present lot, emblematic of Basquiat’s use of technology and innovation. Reminiscent of the hip hop practice of combining musical tracks to create one symphonic sound, Basquiat’s style of layering, remixing, and collaging is highly synesthetic and eternally poetic.

Auction: 8 March 2023

Auction viewing: 27 February – 8 March

Location: 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022

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