Zenith (1985 painting)

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ArtistJean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol
MediumAcrylic on canvas
MovementNeo-expressionism and pop art
Dimensions297 cm × 673 cm (117 in × 265 in)

Zenith is a painting created by American artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol in 1985. It sold for $11.4 million at Phillips in May 2014, the highest price paid at auction for a Warhol-Basquiat collaboration.[1]


Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat were formally introduced by art dealer Bruno Bischofberger in October 1982.[2] They became creative partners and their prolific friendship defined the 1980s New York art scene.[3] Artist Ronnie Cutrone, and assistant to Warhol, said: "It was like some crazy art-world marriage and they were the odd couple. The relationship was symbiotic. Jean-Michel thought he needed Andy’s fame and Andy thought he needed Jean-Michel’s new blood. Jean-Michel gave Andy a rebellious image."[2]

From 1984 to 1985, Warhol and Basquiat created a series of large paintings together. Their collaborations ended after their joint exhibition, Paintings, at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery drew poor reviews in September 1985.[4][5] Their collaborative works merged their two styles. Warhol would start by painting a commercial image and then Basquiat would add his own flare. Describing the process, Basquiat said: "He would put something very concrete or recognizable, like a newspaper headline or a product logo, and I would sort of deface it, and then I would try to get him to work some more on it, and then I would work more on it."[6] Zenith is titled after electronics company Zenith, whose red logo is centered on the canvas. It sold for $11.4 million at the Phillips Contemporary Art Evening Sale in May 2014, becoming the most expensive painting from their collaborations sold at auction.[1][7]


Zenith has been exhibited at the following art institutions:

  • Warhol-Basquiat: Collaborations at Didier Imbert Fine Art in Paris, September 29–November 25, 1989.[8]
  • Collaborations – Warhol/Basquiat/Clemente at Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany, February–May 1996; Villa Stuck in Munich, Germany, July–September 1996; Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Castello di Rivoli, in Italy, October 1996–January 1997.[8]
  • Andy Warhol: A Factory at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Wolfsburg, October 1998–January 1999; Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, May1999–September 1999); Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, October 1999–April 2000.[8]
  • Warhol, Basquiat, Clemente: Obras En Colaboracion at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Italy, February–April 2002.[8]
  • The Andy Warhol Show at Fondazione La Triennale di Milano in Italy, September 2004–January 2005.[8]
  • Skulls at Galerie Bruno Bischofberger in Zurich, December 2005–February 2006.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Boucher, Brian (May 24, 2016). "Elton John Sends Warhol/Basquiat to Sotheby's". artnet News. Retrieved 2021-01-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b Faughnan, Ally (May 28, 2019). "The best, worst, and weirdest parts of Warhol and Basquiat's friendship". Dazed. Retrieved 2021-01-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Vanderhoof, Erin (July 31, 2019). "Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and the Friendship That Defined the Art World in 1980s New York City". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2021-01-14.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Raynor, Vivien (September 20, 1985). "Art: Basquiat, Warhol". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-14.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Wines, Michael (August 27, 1988). "Jean Michel Basquiat: Hazards Of Sudden Success and Fame". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-14.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Basquiat, Jean-Michel (2019). Basquiat-isms. Princeton University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-691-19283-3.
  7. ^ Kinsella, Eileen (May 15, 2014). "Rothko and Koons Shine At Phillips Sale". artnet News. Retrieved 2021-01-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol - Zenith, 1985". Phillips. Retrieved 2021-01-14.