Artist: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Title: Rome Pays Off
Medium: Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board
Size: 44” x 40”
Edition of 85
Additional Information: Signed
A prominent artist in 1980s New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat made a name for himself with his graffiti-style art—most notably with his trademark skulls and masks designs. The young artist drew inspiration from various sources which were close to him, including his Haitian and Puerto Rican heritage, contemporary political issues, religion, and pop cultural trends.
Rome Pays Off is another series of art in the Estate Portfolio. It was created in 1982 and measures about 44 X 40″ centimeters on the Lenox museum board. Though an abstract representation of ideas, this artwork is not complex, since it represents limited colors and images. For instance, there is a human skull on the right and on top of it is written the word “salt.” There is also an image of a crown, and on the left, the words “graft, estimated value, and Roman pays off.” One thing that can be drawn from the painting is the word “graft and roman pay off.” This is an indication that this is a political piece, and it seems to criticize the graft evident in society. Some of the features in this abstract medium include the bright mix of colors, and in this case, the dominant one being yellow, which brightly lights the surface of the image. The artist probably used this form to create attraction and interest in the eyes of the audience. This helps him achieve the objective of captivation and message delivery, despite the fact that this work makes it hard to be understood.
We think that this will make a great piece, especially because it represents the artist’s inner thoughts or feeling about some aspects of society. For instance, the image seems to criticize graft and other elements associated with them. Considering the uniqueness and exoticness of the artwork, it would be important to consider this a great investment.