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Kings of Egypt II

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As a graffiti artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat used the name Samo (a contraction of 'same old shit') plus the motif of a crown and a copyright symbol. He was the king of New York’s graffiti scene and then created a furore in the art world. In this painting, the crown surmounts two skulls. That Basquiat was already concerned with the dangers of success in 1982 is evident from the text on another painting: ‘most young kings get their head cut off’., Basquiat was initially active in New York’s graffiti scene, but around the age of twenty he found success in the world of contemporary art. His canvases are filled with colourful letters and hieroglyph-like signs. One recurring and highly personal motif is a skull with a crown and the copyright symbol, emblematic of his rapid fame that would prove fatal: he died of a heroin overdose at the age of twenty-seven.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title Kings of Egypt II
Material and technique Oil on canvas
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location Kunsthal Rotterdam
Dimensions Height 183.5 cm
Width 183.5 cm
Depth 4 cm
Artists Kunstenaar: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Accession number 3686 (MK)
Credits Bruikleen / Loan: Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Schenking / Donation: Hans Sonnenberg 2012
Department Modern Art
Acquisition date 2012
Age artist About 22 years old
Collector Collector / Hans Sonnenberg
Exhibitions Meneer Delta, een galeriehouder en verzamelaar in het museum (2012)
De collectie als tijdmachine (2017)
External exhibitions Basquiat - The Artist and his New York Scene (2019)
Boijmans bij de Buren - Meesterlijk! (2019)

All about the artist

Jean-Michel Basquiat

New York 1960 - New York 1988

Jean Michel Basquiat's mother was Puerto Rican and his father was of Haitian descent. In 1977, Basquiat began spraying graffiti on the walls of Manhattan, where...

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