Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, & Andy Warhol (1960-1988, b. 1952, 1928-1987)
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Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, & Andy Warhol (1960-1988, b. 1952, 1928-1987)

Casa del Popolo

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, & Andy Warhol (1960-1988, b. 1952, 1928-1987)
Casa del Popolo
signed and dated 'Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Andy Warhol 84' (on the overlap)
oil, acrylic and silkscreen inks on canvas
50¼ x 84¼in. (127.5 x 214cm.)
Executed in 1984
Galerie Bischofberger, Zurich.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in August 1986.
Zurich, Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Collaborations Basquiat/Clemente/Warhol, September-October 1984 (illustrated in colour, pp. 10-11).
Kassel, Museum Fridericianum, Collaborations: Warhol Basquiat/Clemente, February-May 1996 (illustrated in colour, p. 100). This exhibition later travelled to Munich, Museum Villa Stuck, July- October 1996.
Turin, Castello di Rivoli, Warhol, Basquiat & Clemente - Collaborations, October 1996-January 1997 (illustrated in colour, p. 148).
Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Warhol, Basquiat, Clemente: obras en colaboracion, February-April 2002 (illustrated in colour, p. 68).
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Lot Essay

"I had always found the idea of collaborations fascinating and I knew many examples in art history of artists working together, ranging from fifteenth to nineteenth Century painters to the Cadavre Exquis of the surrealists. I was fascinated by the idea that an artist would voluntarily subjugate his own artistic freedom in favour of an overall plan worked through with another artist. It seemed to me at the time that postmodernism had opened the door to the collaborative process in the sense that artists felt more at ease using the work of other artists in their own work.

At the end of 1983 Basquiat came to stay with us in St. Moritz, Switzerland. During this visit, which was one of several, he made a small painting in our garage with (my daughter) Cora, who was four years old at that time. Cora's technique, somewhere between baby-like and child-like, was the perfect match for Basquiat's primitive-sophisticated style.

As Warhol's dealer I thought it would be interesting to ask him to work with one or two younger artists who I was representing and so I asked Basquiat if he would want to pursue such a project. Basquiat, who was unusually inquisitive and receptive to new ideas, was very enthusiastic. I had already formally introduced the two in the autumn of 1982 at Warhol's Factory. Although it was not yet clear if Warhol would agreee to the collaborative project that Basquiat and I were talking about, we decided to invite Francesco Clemente to participate.
It seemed best to me that in order to keep the collaborations as fresh and spontaneous as possible each artist should start an equal number of works without consulting the other artists about any details concerning the finished work, be it iconography, technique, size or style. The only necessity would be that enough mental and physical space would be left on the work to allow the other artists to make their contribution. Once the originating artist had finished his part of the work I suggested that one half of the works be sent to each of the remaining two artists and from there on to the last. Basquiat agreed that this was the best way. I wanted to have a group of works in which each artist would start four paintings and one drawing, for a total of fifteen works.

Defining titles for the works was left to the two younger artists. In the summer of 1984, when the Collaborations were finished and photographed, my family, Basquiat and I flew to Italy. I had commissioned a family portrait by Clemente for which we sat while in Rome. During a break Basquiat, Clemente and I went to the local restaurant, Casa del Popolo, to discuss the names of the paintings they had done on the basis of the transparencies I had brought. The restaurant's name was used as one title.

The finished fifteen works were shown in an exhibition in my gallery in Zurich, called Collaborations - Basquiat Clemente Warhol , which ran from 15. September to 13. October 1984 and for which I published a catalogue."

Copyright: Bruno Bischofberger, St. Moritz 2005

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