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Artist's invisible ink signature revealed after 30 years

Auction house Sotheby’s says it has uncovered the secret signature of a graffiti artist on a piece from 1982.

Image: Sotheby's

SOTHEBY’S AUCTION HOUSE says it has discovered that graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat secretly signed one of his paintings in invisible ink.

The auction house is selling Orange Sports Figure, estimated to be worth between £3 million and $4 million.

Basquiat, who became a New York art star, signed relatively few of his canvases. But Sotheby’s said ultraviolet light revealed the artist’s name and the date 1982 beneath the layers of paint.

Cheyenne Westphal, head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s Europe, said today that “nobody else probably ever knew about this invisible inscription” — and there could be more on other canvasses.

Basquiat died of a drug overdose in 1988, aged 27. The painting is for sale in London tomorrow.

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