A painting by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat sold last night at Sotheby’s contemporary art sale for a record-making $110.5 million.
Even though we were really hoping Johnny Depp was the buyer, alas, it is none-other than Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. He outed himself when he shared an Instagram post of him staring longingly at the painting in a series of soulful looking shots.
“I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece,” he wrote in the caption. “When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible.”
He plans to put the painting in a museum he is building in Japan, but first will send it around the world visiting different museums. Maezawa was also the buyer of the previous record-holder for the most expensive Basquiat painting ever sold auction, which he bought last year for $57.3 million.
This work beat a number of records for art auction sales; it is the most expensive painting by an American artist, the most expensive painting by an African American artist, and the first painting made after 1980 to fetch over $100 million. It is also the sixth most expensive painting ever sold at auction.