Riding with the death of Basquiat

Riding with the death of Basquiat
Riding with the death of Basquiat

Jean Michel Basquiat has become one of the greatest art references of the late 20th century. And this despite the fact that he died at the age of only 27 in 1988. Precisely this great work (249 x 290 cm) that we see here was made that same year, and has something of prescient, since this North American artist died of a lethal overdose of heroin.


Riding with the death of Basquiat

Before that he had made it big in art circles in theUnited Stateswith works like Horn Players, and everyone raved about his genius. Instead his end was near and as if he sensed it he left us this acrylic painting

In the image we barely see two figures on a wide neutral background. The truth is that there are no typical elements of his paintings such as crowns, letters or collage that are not seen here. He also minimizes the number of colors, when his works are usually full of tonal contrasts. However, here only black for the outlines, white for the horse and maroon for the rider, a figure that we all assume is Basquiat. himself.

Perhaps the horse is another man, subdued, who has embarked on a path of no return, to which the skull with its toxic gaze could allude. It is true that Basquiat was always disturbed by the presence of death. And there are even those who say that it was he himself who looked for her,who committed suicide with heroin to avoid more painful deaths like those he saw among his acquaintances due to AIDS.

The fact is that he was a black artist and addicted to drugs which has forged the legend of him, although not everything is true. For example, Basquiat was never an outcast or a poor person. He came from a middle-class family and the only time he spent time homeless was out of sheer bohemian spirit.

Basquiat was an extremely intelligent character, capable of synthesizing many of the creative formats of his time, and bringing them all together. He had some very clear references, such asPablo Picasso. And how he went through his time of painting African masks, but for a creative desire, and not for something related to his race or his ancestors, as critics have later said.

And of course another of his referents wasAndy Warhol, his great artistic mentor. In fact, both embarked on a most special project. While Warhol returned to brushes and more traditional painting, Basquiat delved into techniques such as collage and screen printing.

The truth is that Andy Warhol was more than just a creative influence, he was the one who made him known to the cream of New York society. They were true friends and respected each other. So much so that when Warhol died, Basquiat said he had no one left to talk to. And the fact is that a year later he passed away.

Popular topic