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four essential books on the American artist

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“A wonderful publication, not only about the artist but also about his close relationship with his family and friends”

American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat led a meteoric existence, harnessing the urgency of street art and taking the New York art world of the 1980s by storm before dying untimely in 1988, aged just 27. work exploded. It has recently been the subject of several major institutional exhibitions, many of which were curated by the expert Basquiat Dieter Buchhart. The latest, a look at Basquiat’s collaborations with Andy Warhol, opens at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris this month. In addition to recommending essays by Okwui Enwezor in previous catalogs he has worked on – Fondation Beyeler in 2010 and Fondation Louis Vuitton in 2018 – Buchhart has selected four books for anyone interested in learning more about life and Basquiat’s work.

Jean-Michel Basquiat (2010, 3rd edition) by Emmanuel Barth Enrico Navarra

“This publication comprises three volumes and offers an impressive overview of Basquiat’s work, in conjunction with important texts. It is the major reference book, as most of Basquiat’s paintings are listed and arranged by year. Thus, artistic development can be traced impressively through his paintings. An absolute must for anyone interested in the works of Basquiat.

Courtesy of Princeton University Press

Basquiatisms (2019) by Larry Warsh

“This is a very small but important publication. Larry Warsh has taken it upon himself to distill the voices of an exciting array of visual artists and designers. Basquiatisms contains Basquiat’s most important quotes, which speak volumes about his way of seeing and thinking. An excellent reference book that offers an intimate and personal insight into the ideas of one of the most important artists of our time.

Courtesy of University of California Press

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Reader (2021) by Jordana Moore Saggese

“Jordana Moore Saggese has managed to bring together interviews with Basquiat, his contemporaries and his scholars; criticism of his art during and after his life; and a selection of the most important critical essays on the artist’s work in this important work. Saggese’s outstanding research provides comprehensive insight into Basquiat’s work processes, his views on art and culture, and the historical and contemporary significance of his work.

Courtesy of Rizzoli International Publications

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Pleasure King © (2022) by Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux

“This catalog was published for the great exhibition Jean-Michel Basquiat: Pleasure King © in 2022, organized by the sisters and the family of Basquiat, presenting works until then partly not accessible to the public. It not only offers an incredible insight into the works in the exhibition, but also a very intimate insight into Basquiat, as his sisters Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, as well as his mother-in-law Nora Fitzpatrick, share their memories. It is a wonderful publication, not only about the artist Basquiat, but also about his close relationship with his family and friends.

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