FIRST LOOK | “JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT DRAWING: WORK FROM THE SCHORR FAMILY COLLECTION” AT ACQUAVELLA NY

May 9, 2014  |  art

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Opening last week in NYC at Acquavella Gallery is an incredible show of mostly previously unseen original drawings by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat. From the collection of one the artist's earliest supporters, couple Herbert & Lenore Schorr, the show features some of his most personal, and intimate pieces from the golden age of his career, including the seminal large-scale work Leonardo Da Vinci's Greatest Hits from his landmark Fun Gallery show.

Herbert and Lenore Schorr began collecting the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1981, before his first New York exhibition. “During the artist’s seminal years 1982-83 the Schorrs acquired several of his most important paintings, but in contrast to virtually every other early collector, the Schorrs also pursued and acquired a great number of works on paper both directly from the artist and from his early dealers,” explained show curator Fred Hoffman. “The Schorrs astutely understood that working on paper was equally central to his practice as painting on canvas. Their collection demonstrates both the focus and ambition that the artist invested in the medium of drawing.”

Basquiat showed an affinity for drawing at an early age and this practice was a central component of his artistic output. Between 1980-88, the artist produced approximately 1000 works on paper, which articulate complex narratives, revealing flawed power structures and hinting at fundamental failings in social discourse.

The portrait of Herbert and Lenore Schorr included in the exhibition highlights the impact their support had on the artist’s short but prolific career. “We had so much confidence in him from the beginning and couldn’t understand why other people couldn’t see it,” explained Lenore Schorr. “A wonderful exhibition that he did at Fun Gallery in 1983 didn’t receive a single review and we were the only ones to buy a painting.” That painting, Leonardo da Vinci’s Greatest Hits is now considered a seminal example of the artist’s work and is one of two paintings on view in a show that should be considered a must-see for Basquiat fans.

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Herbert & Lenore Schorr at home with Basquiat originals

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Basquiat's portrait of Herbert & Lenore Schorr

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Vintage photo of Keitch Haring with "Leonardo Da Vinci's Greatest Hits"

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Essential reading material...

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