Untitled Jean-Michel Basquiat Painting Auctioned for $110 Million, a US Record

Untitled Jean-Michel Basquiat Painting Auctioned for $110 Million, a US Record

A work of art by Haitian-American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby's NY on Thursday, according to the auction house.

The skull-like head on a giant canvas in oil-stick, acrylic and spray paint called Untitled was the star lot of the May auction season in NY and had been valued pre-sale in excess of US$60 million.

The auction, held at Sotheby's in NY on Wednesday, drew gasps from the crowd as the price "sailed past" the expected $US60 million mark.

A Japanese collector and billionaire won a 10-minute auction tussle at Sotherby's on Thursday for a skull-like head in oil, acrylic and spray paint by bidding $110.5 million (99.2 million euros).

Maezawa said he intends to lend the work for public exhibitions before housing it in his own museum in his native Chiba, Japan.

The previous auction record for a Basquiat work was set last May when "Untitled, 1982" sold for $57.3 million, also to Maezawa. He died in 1988 from a heroin overdose, at the age of 27.

The auction house said it had remained in the same private collection since it was bought at auction in 1984 for $19,000.

The Picasso piece sold at Christie's in NY in 2015.

"I've never seen so much emotions in such a painting", he said.

And it's the first work made after 1980 to sell for more than $100 million.

Christie's announced Thursday that its impressionist, modern, post-war and contemporary sales this week totaled $842.5 million, which it said was up $220 million over its sales last season in November.

Pablo Picasso holds the world record for the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction.

Sotheby's said 65 percent of works in Thursday's sale made their auction debut and almost 75 percent for the first time in 20 years. His "The Women of Algiers (Version 0)" fetched $179.4 million at Christie's in NY in 2015.