Born in Brooklyn in 1960, Basquiat was one of the first African-American artists to reach international fame and wealth in the art world. Having left school at the age of seventeen, the young Basquiat began creating his unique iconography, a style characterised by a bold graphics that typically referenced African culture and race relations in America. Shortly after his first solo exhibition at the Annina Nosei gallery, he became notorious for a wildly expressive art underpinned by savage social commentary.
As part of the urban 1980s avant-garde culture of New York, he became close friends with Andy Warhol, collaborating with him on several projects. His final paintings, created just after Warhol’s death in 1987, are among his most mature and brilliant works.
He died of a drug overdose in 1988.