GRAFFITI pioneer Jean-Michel Basquiat's Orange Sports Figure, which was recently found to be signed in invisible ink, has sold for more than £4 million ($5.8m) at a London auction.The 1982 work, which depicts a figure emblazoned with Basquiat's iconic crown motif, eventually went under the hammer for £4,073,250 at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Wednesday.
The auction house this week revealed it had discovered Basquiat's signature in invisible ink after viewing the painting under ultraviolet light.
Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960 and began working as a graffiti artist in the late 1970s before becoming a neo-expressionist during the next decade. During a varied career, he collaborated with pop art godfather Andy Warhol, played in a band with US film actor and director Vincent Gallo, appeared in a video for the band Blondie and briefly dated the woman who would go on to become a global pop queen: Madonna.
Basquiat died in 1988 after taking a heroin overdose following a battle with addiction and depression.
The top-selling lot of Wednesday's sale was German visual artist Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild, which sold for £4,857,250, exceeding its pre-sale expectations of £3m-£4m.
Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby's chairman of contemporary art Europe, says: "We witnessed a huge depth of international bidding right across the auction, with buyers coming from no fewer than 20 countries.
"Gerhard Richter once again dominated, with all six of his works selling for an aggregate sum of £17.6m."