Boxer Rebellion – Jean-Michel Basquiat

Title: Boxer Rebellion
Year: 1982-83/2018
Medium: Screen print on Lenox Museum Board
Size: 29 x 39.5 in (73.66 x 100.33 cm)
Edition: 60
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.

Boxer Rebellion is Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 screen print created on a 29 x 39 1/2 inches (73.66 x 100.33 cm) platform, and depicting what seems to be a boxing match. The painting represents tens of scripted words, both in English and Chinese, thus making it even more puzzling. This triggers the audience to engage their thinking and try to discern the objectives of the artist when creating the piece. Basquiat presents it in his characteristic graffiti style; a strategy that allows him to be rough and incomprehensible in his work. This screenprint is part of the Estate portfolio of Basquiat and draws its inspiration from the historical 1900 Boxer Rebellion in China. This is indicated at the bottom of the painting, thus allowing the audience to have a clue of what the painting is all about. However, what is confusing is the fact that he incorporates boxers from the late 20th century, thus bringing more questions to the audience. The most probable explanation for this representation is to make the painting resonate with the current audience and also make it modern.

This is a painting rich in history. The fact that it examines the 1900s Boxing Rebellion in China, makes it an important piece to focus on and invest in. One aspect that makes this painting worth purchasing is its uniqueness, and the ability to draw the audience attention through the incomprehensible presentation brought about by aspects such as a combination of English and Chinese, and many other aspects. This is a great piece for a private collection, and I believe would be worth your money.