Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Now's the Time’ could fetch more than $30 million at Sotheby’s auction

The asymmetrical and seemingly lusterless, but powerful, black record is inspired by the artist’s love for Charlie Parker’s music.

April 27, 2023: Neo-expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s defining strokes and fractured art drew inspiration from changing society, racial politics, and the streets while creatively merging with the rhythms of hip-hop, bebop and jazz. 

Jean-Michel Basquiat Now's the Time
The artist first made his powerful presence through his pioneering street art, and soon became an important figure in the art world. Mr. Basquiat passed away at the young age of 27, but his groundbreaking art continues to be an inspiration for future artists as they break auction records.
His most singular artwork, titled ‘Now’s the Time’, depicts a vinyl pressing of American jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker’s 1945 recording of the same name. The asymmetrical record, with only a few inscriptions scrawled upon the black, matte surface, is dedicated to Charlie Parker and his music, which shaped Mr. Basquiat’s seven-year career. This artwork bespeaks his passion for jazz and the way it fundamentally impacted his painting career.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Now's the Time

Forty years after its creation, the artwork measuring more than seven feet in diameter, will be presented at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction on May 18. Having remained in the renowned collection of American art collector and industrialist Peter Brant for several decades, the piece is estimated to achieve more than $30 million. 

“In ‘Now’s the Time’, we witness Basquiat radically simplify the explosive Bravura of his street-art style to create a painting that ranks amongst the most important and visually striking masterworks in his oeuvre. As a final touch, he emblazons his signature copyright sign on the surface: both giving credit to Parker, and marking the painting, the declaration, and the moment as his own,” Gregoire Billault, Sotheby’s Chairman of Contemporary Art, said.

- By Pritha Debroy

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