Jean-Michel Basquiat's untitled 1982 representation of a skull sold at auction for $110.5 million on Thursday — a record for an American painting and the sixth-highest auction price for any painting in world history.
Sotheby's said the painting — one of numerous untitled masterpieces by Basquiat, who died in 1988 at age 27 — sold in only 10 minutes. The buyer was identified as Yusaku Maezawa, a Chinese-born billionaire entrepreneur living in Japan, who bid by phone.
"When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art," Maezawa said in an Instagram post Thursday night. "I want to share that experience with as many people as possible."
The oilstick, acrylic and spray-painted piece, described by Sotheby's as "raw, uncensored and fiercely magnificent," topped the record $105.4 million paid in November 2013 for an American painting — Basquiat cohort Andy Warhol's 1963 "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)."
"Untitled" now slots in at No. 6 on the list of priciest paintings in history, behind Pablo Picasso's 1932 "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," which was auctioned off for $106.5 million in May 2010. Another Picasso, "Les Femmes d'Alger (Version O)," painted in 1955, remains at the top, having fetched $179.4 million in May 2015.
Sotheby's said "Untitled" was a critical landmark in Basquiat's career because it "declared the arrival of the brilliant, then virtually unknown young artist into a world that would be forever transformed by his paintings."