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Jean-Michel Basquiat was one of the first black painters to become a world-renowned star in a new era called “neo-expressionist” in the 1980’s. Making a name for himself on the streets of New York City as a graffiti artist, Basquiat’s paintings now sell for millions in art auctions. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s signature of “samo,” (which stood for same old shiggety), would signify ownership of his work on the streets.

He was known to work with and befriend famous artist Andy Warhol in 1980. There was also rumors of a love affair with Madonna in 1982.

After Warhol’s death, Jean-Michel Basquait became depressed and died of a cocaine and heroine mix in 1988. He was 27 years old. After his death, a Basquiat painting has been sold at Sotheby’s in New York for a reported $14.6 million.

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