Jawbone Of An Ass – Jean-Michel Basquiat

Title: Jawbone Of An Ass
Year: 1982
Medium: Screen print on Lenox Museum Board
Size: 43 x 60 in (109.22 x 152.4 cm)
Edition: 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.

“The Jawbone of an Ass” is another one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 work of art measuring 43 by 60 inches. It is created on a Lenox museum board. Characteristically, Basquiat is known as a political-poetical graffiti artist, and therefore, aspects of graffiti show in almost every aspect of his work. Seen in the Jaw of an Ass, incomprehensive writings, roughly drawn images, and smudges of colors are representative of graffiti. Like many of the series of screenprints he created in 1982, Basquiat gives an impression of his early life. He was brought up in a culturally diverse environment, an aspect that saw his life torn apart. The abstract and loosely connected nature of the Jaw of an Ass screen print is an illustration of his early years. Moreover, the jawbone shown in the screen print is an indication of his fascination with anatomy. When he was seven years old, Basquiat was given a copy of Gray’s Anatomy by his mother. This saw him interested in anatomy, and therefore, the jawbone represented in the artwork is part of his fascination with anatomy.

What makes this a good investment?

This is an interesting piece, which explores more than just aesthetics. It explores the artist’s cultural heritage as well as his torn past. His diverse cultural past, which is the cause of his racial segregation and alienation, demonstrates the historical aspects revolving around a past plagued by racism and social alienation. The rich history that the Jawbone of an Ass exhibits makes this an art to keep.