“I remember astounding the art world back in 1980s when I set an auction record for Basquiat at US$99,000,” said Jeffrey Deitch, an art dealer who was the artist’s friend and champion. “All of us, Jean-Michel’s friends, we totally believed in his genius. I always thought he would be one day in the league of Picasso, Bacon and Van Gogh. The work has that iconic quality. His appeal is real.” The Brooklyn-born Basquiat, below, died in 1988.