In Italian
Jean-Michel Basquiat
In Italian
Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, Neo-Expressionism, 1960-1988): In Italian, 1983. Acrylic and oil paintstick on canvas with wooden supports and five smaller canvases painted with ink marker, 2 panels: 88-1/2 x 80 inches overall. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris, ARS, New York 2013. The Stephanie and Peter Brant Foundation, Greenwich, Connecticut, USA. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

'Basquiat was known for scavenging his materials ... [such as] plywood, doors, and make-shift canvases constructed from irregular pieces of linen stapled to wooden shipping pallets. In a way, his foraged canvases epitomize the furious pace at which Basquiat was known to work, capturing the sense that the work he produced could scarcely keep up with his creative energy.

... symbols of empowerment can be seen [in a number of Basquiat's] paintings ... such as the repeated appearance of crowns, often used in self-portraits. The crown was a particularly dual-purpose motif for Basquiat, in that it alluded to majestic and kingly qualities he attributed to himself, as well as it was visually similar to the idiosyncratic dreadlocks he sported. Basquiat also recognized the crown as a parallel symbol for fallibility in religious iconography. In a large double-panel painting titled In Italian from 1983, he has written the words “crown of thorns," only to cross out the final word in the phrase.' (© Gagosian Gallery)

Neo-Expressionism (Late 1970s — Early 1990s):