Adam Clayton’s Basquiat to fetch €1.8m

A work of art owned by U2 bassist Adam Clayton is expected to fetch €1.8m at auction.

Clayton, 56, has owned the Jean-Michel Basquiat self-portrait ‘Untitled’ (1982), in which a tear drops from the artist’s eye, for more than 25 years.

The U2 star bought the work shortly after his arrival in New York and less than two years after Brooklyn-born Basquiat’s death.

Clayton said he became interested in Basquiat, as well as fellow artists Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, the “granddaddy of the whole movement”, while in New York, where the band were exploring an electronic sound that would influence U2’s 1991 album Achtung Baby.

“The idea that these young painters without any gallery experience could make their mark on the streets of New York — could go to the hippest night clubs, could mix with musical culture — was very exciting to me,” he said.

“It was where I came from. I always thought music and art went hand in hand together.”

Experts say the work offers an insight into “Basquiat’s psyche at a pivotal moment in his career” as “an itinerant street artist raised to meteoric heights in an unfamiliar world”.

The self-portrait, made from oil stick on paper, features his arms appearing “to pierce his body like an arrow”.

Francis Outred, head of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s, said: “Unlike other self-portraits by Basquiat, it articulates his fragility as a figure who is coming to terms with his new position in the world and injects the deepest pathos into the narrative of his dramatic trajectory from anonymous graffiti artist to international art superstar.”

The work will go under the hammer at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction in King Street, London on March 7.


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