The present work originally belonged to the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who met Warhol through his girlfriend Paige Powell, an editor at Interview magazine. The relationship between both artists soon flourished and Basquiat leased a studio from Warhol on Great Jones Street in Soho. They soon became very close and began to exercise together, paint each other's portraits and discuss philosophies of life in general.
René Ricard has described what the two men meant to each other: "Andy represented to Jean the 'Good White Father' Jean had been searching for since his teenage years...I think I would say that Andy and Jean were each the best thing that ever happened to the other. Jean never recovered from Andy's death" (see exh. cat., Jean-Michel Basquiat, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 1992, p. 49).