Skifahrer | Jean Michel Basquiat

Skifahrer 1983 | Painting 27,5 x 35,4 Inch

Discover the biography and all work of the artist

During the winter of 1983, the gallery owner Bruno Bischofberger invited Jean-Michel Basquiat to join him in his house in St. Moritz and it was here that the US artist produced his Skifahrer (Skier) painting.

On a large canvas covered with a thick layer of red paint, Basquiat has drawn a stylised figure with dark black lines, skiing down a slope created by a heavy stroke of blue.

The small smiling man is a first for Basquiat who usually depicts more shadowy figures: here the smile is neither ambiguous nor sarcastic; it is the smile of joie de vivre and well-being, childlike, reinforcing the painting's youthful aspect and the simplicity of the message to the audience.

Basquiat maintains a close relationship of friendship and respect with Bruno Bischofberger, which resulted in him working with other leading artists such as Francesco Clemente. This is one of five works that Basquiat painted in Saint-Moritz for Bruno Bischofberger's dining room and therefore was acquired straightaway by the gallery owner.

It was also during this period between 1983 and 1985 that on the latter's advice, Jean-Michel Basquiat collaborated with Andy Warhol on a series of paintings. For the 1984 Olympics, for example, Warhol produced several variations of the five rings that symbolise the sporting event, while Basquiat responded with abstract figures adorned with his graffiti.