Victor 25448 is notably one of the largest works on paper the Brooklyn-born artist ever executed, standing some 6 feet by 11 feet. It was displayed as part of Basquiat’s last solo exhibition before his death in 1988. The work features the artist’s signature scrawls and fractured figures, and a host of Basquiat's sociopolitical messaging for which his works have gained renown.
The painting portrays an injured figure in the aftermath of a violent scene, accompanied by warning symbols and texts: “Fatal Injury” and “A Beating Awaits You Here.” One of the prominent visuals of the composition is the word “Ideal” repeated three times in Victor 25448.
Phillips' Deputy Chairman, Robert Manley explained the work's significance to ARTnews. “All of Basquiat’s work, directly or indirectly, expresses his identity as a Black man in a predominantly white art world,” he added. “Victor 25448 references the brutality that Black people suffer in many forms and is also a reflection of Basquiat himself.”
The painting was last auctioned in Christie’s New York contemporary evening sale in 2008 for $3.5 million. Now Victor 25448 is expected to fetch between $8 million and $12 million. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the work will go to the Art for Justice Fund, an initiative funded that aims to reduce mass incarceration.
The auction is scheduled for July 2, visit Phillips’ website to learn more.