Basquiat's 'Now's the Time' Painting to Headline Sotheby's Upcoming Auction

The painting is notably tied to his affinity for jazz and the music of Charlie Parker.

Art
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Like the roar of a tenor saxophone gliding over the rhythm, improvisation was a key technique for Jean-Michel Basquiat. Understandably so, as his affinity for jazz is well documented. Even before amassing an impressive record collection himself, the young artist would draw on the floor as his father would play the trumpet. Bebop, in particular, would become a lifelong interest for Basquiat, especially the virtuosic music of Charlie Parker.

Basquiat’s homage to Jazz, Now’s the Time (1985), will be the centerpiece of Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction next month. Named after Parker’s 1945 record of the same name, the painting has been in the collection of publisher and film producer, Peter Brant, and is expected to fetch roughly $30m USD.

“In [Now’s the Time], we witness Basquiat radically simplify the explosive bravura of his street-art style to create a painting that ranks amongst the most important and visually striking masterworks in his oeuvre,” said Sotheby’s chairman of contemporary art, Grégoire Billault, in a statement. “As a final touch, he emblazons his signature copyright sign on the surface: both giving credit to Parker, and marking the painting, the declaration, and the moment as his own.”

The seven-foot-wide painting is currently on view at Sotheby’s outpost in Los Angeles until April 24, then will go on view in New York from May 6 to 18, in advance of the auction.

Elsewhere, Lauren Halsey fuses ancient Egypt with South Central in a monumental new installation.

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