In his work, Basquiat often referred to the music and musicians he admired, as in King Zulu (1986), a painting featuring three great American jazz trumpeters: Bix Beiderbecke, Bunk Johnson and Howard McGhee. The canvas also shows a black-painted face inspired by Louis Armstrong, characterised as the King of the Zulus at the New Orleans Carnival Parade in 1949. Armstrong explained his participation in this parade: ‘The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club was situated in the neighbourhood that I was reared… And no place that I’ve ever been could remove the thought… that, someday, I will be the King of the Zulus… I won it in 1949... Wow.’ Basquiat places his King Zulu at the centre of the canvas, while the musicians are submerged in a blue space that evokes the lyrical sound of the blues.

WORKS IN THE COLLECTION BY JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

DISCOVER THE EXHIBITION

The artist has to face the unknown with a positive mood and sink his teeth without fear
Eduardo Chillida