1982 - Oil on canvas, 240 x 420.4 cm. - The Stephanie and Peter Brant Foundation, Greenwich
© Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
For most artists in this list, it took them decades to become "myths". Basquiat did so in just eight years. Born on December 22th 1960 in Brooklyn, New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat grew up in the streets of Brooklyn, New York, and as a teenager he created several ferocious graffitis on the subway trains of Lower Manhattan, signing them with the anagram SAMO©, which means "SAMe Old shit". When he was only 19 years old, Basquiat take part in the exhibition "Times Square Show", where he attracted the attention of both critics and specialized press, and he began his friendship with one of the most famous and controversial artistic personalities of that period, Andy Warhol. On August 12th 1988, Basquiat was found dead of a drug overdose on his apartment. He was only 27 years old
Often labeled as a 'Neo-expressionist' painter, Basquiat was also influenced by primitive art and even by Pop Art. As one of the first famous African-American artists, his heritage played an important role in his paintings. Basquiat's paintings often feature the figure of a black man, previously a slave ("Untitled, History of the Black People", 1983), and now an epic hero ("Boxer", 1982)
“Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump” is a monumental work dating from 1982, when Basquiat reached the zenith of his talent. As is usual in Basquiat, the composition is simple, but the whole painting is a neo-expressionist "tour-de-force" in which the usually pleasant scene of a boy playing with his dog is painted with the rabid energy of a primitive work of Art.
Text by G. Fernández, www.theartwolf.com