Jean-Michel Basquiat

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Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an American artist.[1] His career in art began as a graffiti artist in New York City in the late 1970s, and in the 1980s produced Neo-expressionist painting. Basquiat died of a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988, at the age of 27.[2]


Early life

Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, the first of three children to Matilde Andrades (July 28, 1934 – November 17, 2008)[3] and Gerard Basquiat (born 1930).[4] He had two younger sisters: Lisane, born in 1964, and Jeanine, born in 1967.[3]

Gerard Basquiat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Matilde Basquiat was a Puerto Rican woman born in Brooklyn, New York.[4][5] Because of his heritage, Basquiat was fluent in French, Spanish and English by the age of eleven,[4] and was able to read and write in all three languages.[6]

Basquiat was a precocious child, as he learned how to read and write by age four and was gifted in artwork.[6] His teachers noticed his artistic abilities, and his mother encouraged her son's artwork.

In September 1968, when Basquiat was seven years old, his parents separated and he and his sisters were raised by their father.[4][7] The family resided in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn for five years, before they moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1974. The family resided in Puerto Rico for two years, before they returned to New York City in 1976.[8]

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