>> 58 million, $59 million, 65 million on the telephone now.>> This rarely glimpsed painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat has sold for a whopping $110.5 million, the highest auction price ever for an American artist.>> Thank you, Yusaku, congratulations.>>
>> It was originally expected to fetch roughly half that amount.
And it's a huge job for the Untitled work, which sold for only $19,000 in 1984. Basquiat died four years later of a heroin overdose, aged 27. But today's price puts him into a pantheon of greats, including Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. The sale coming down to a good old-fashioned bidding war in New York.
>> Totally thrilling, I mean, it really is such a privilege to have handled this extraordinary picture. And we had an electrifying ten-minute bidding battle on the picture, which I think was pure drama. I mean, this is what the auction theater is really all about.>> The canvas was bought by the founder of the e-commerce firm Start Today Yusaku Maezawa, who intends to lend it to public art exhibits before retiring it to his home in his native Japan.