Uncovering the Artistic Synergy of Warhol and Basquiat: A Groundbreaking Exhibition

The exhibition features over 80 joint paintings by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, revealing they began collaborating earlier than previously thought.
Pioneering creative partnership: The duo produced around 160 paintings together, using a unique conversation through painting, which is showcased in the exhibition.
The exhibition displays previously unexhibited masterpieces and highlights artists' dialogue of styles, addressing social issues such as the integration of the African-American community.
The friendship between Warhol and Basquiat was a transformative experience, with both artists influencing and challenging one another creatively throughout their collaboration.
The Warhol-Basquiat collaboration represents a unique moment in art history, as two iconic artists from different backgrounds and generations came together to create captivating and inspiring work.


The Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris is hosting an exhibition, “Basquiat x Warhol: Painting Four Hands,” co-curated by Dieter Buchhart and Anna Karina Hofbauer.

The exhibition, which runs from April 5 to August 28, 2023, features over 80 paintings jointly created and signed by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Research for the show reveals that the pair began collaborating earlier than previously thought, with the first meeting taking place in 1979.

Pioneering Creative Partnership

Between 1984 and 1985, the two artists produced around 160 paintings together, with Keith Haring describing the partnership as a “conversation occurring through painting, instead of words.”

The exhibition displays the duo’s early collaborations, including joint works that incorporated eggs, crabs, lobsters, and dollar signs.

These early pieces, created with encouragement from Warhol, were previously dated inaccurately.

The exhibition features previously unexhibited masterpieces, such as “Felix the Cat” (1984-85) and “Ten Punching Bags (Last Supper)” (1985-86).

The latter piece holds historical significance as it reflects the aggressive and tragic atmosphere felt during the murder of graffiti artist Michael Stewart and the ongoing AIDS crisis.

Celebrating a Transformative Artistic Dialogue

The showcase at the Fondation Louis Vuitton includes more than 300 works and documents, individual works by both artists, and pieces by other major artists such as Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, and Kenny Scharf.

Interspersed with these works are photographs capturing the energy of the New York downtown art scene of the 1980s.

The exhibition begins with a series of portraits of Basquiat by Warhol and of Warhol by Basquiat, followed by the early collaborations initiated by dealer Bruno Bischofberger.

The creative partnership between the two artists was marked by enthusiasm and complicity, resulting in artworks such as “African Mask,” a 10-meter-long canvas.

The collaboration between Warhol and Basquiat saw both artists influencing each other’s work and challenging one another creatively.

Basquiat admired Warhol for his innovative language and groundbreaking relationship with pop culture, while Warhol found renewed interest in painting through his collaboration with Basquiat.

Exploring Social Issues Through Art

The exhibition highlights the artists’ dialogue of styles and forms, tackling crucial subjects such as the integration of the African-American community into the narrative of North America.

For instance, the work “China Paramount” (1984) reflects the contrasting world views of Warhol and Basquiat.

Warhol included profiles of then-US president Ronald Reagan, a free market economy advocate, while Basquiat juxtaposed these images with black skull faces, highlighting the economic disparity faced by the African American population in the 1980s.

The Warhol-Basquiat collaboration represents a unique moment in art history, where two iconic artists from different backgrounds and generations came together to create a body of work that continues to captivate and inspire audiences today.

About the Artists and Their Friendship

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an American artist and leading figure in the pop art movement. Known for his innovative approach to art, Warhol challenged the boundaries between fine art and popular culture.

His works explored themes of consumerism, celebrity culture, and mass media, making him a cultural icon.

Some of his most famous works include the Campbell’s Soup Cans series and portraits of Marilyn Monroe.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was an American artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent. 

He gained fame as part of the New York City street art movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Basquiat’s work combined graffiti, neo-expressionism, and primitivism to create a unique artistic style.

His art often focused on social issues, addressing topics like race, identity, and inequality. Basquiat’s art career was tragically short, as he died at the age of 27 from a drug overdose.

Friendship and Creative Influence

The friendship between Warhol and Basquiat was a transformative experience for both artists, as they found inspiration in each other’s work and challenged one another creatively.

The two artists first met in 1979, and their bond grew stronger after their formal introduction in 1982.

Their collaboration was marked by mutual respect and admiration, with Basquiat looking up to Warhol as a mentor and Warhol finding a renewed passion for painting through their partnership.

Their friendship transcended the art world, with the duo often seen socializing together at various events in New York City.

Their bond was so strong that Basquiat was deeply affected by Warhol’s death in 1987, and some art critics believe that the loss of his friend contributed to Basquiat’s decline in mental health and eventual death just a year later.

The Warhol-Basquiat collaboration represents a unique moment in art history, where two iconic artists from different backgrounds and generations came together to create a body of work that continues to captivate and inspire audiences today.

Craig Miller

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