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“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.

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