On March 7, the auction house Christie’s will sell a self-portrait by Jean-Michel Basquiat, currently part of a collection owned by U2 bassist Adam Clayton.

The self-portrait shows the late neo-expressionist American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in what Christie’s describes as “a martyr: a Saint Sebastian-like figure for the contemporary age.” It has been estimated at between US$1.5–1.8 million (RM6.7–8 million).

Clayton acquired the painting upon first arriving in New York in 1990, while recording the band’s seventh studio album Achtung Baby and it remained in his collection for over two decades. The musician is now selling the piece in celebration of the 30th anniversary of U2’s Joshua Tree album.

In a press release, Clayton explains his attraction to Basquiat’s pieces: “The idea that these young painters without any gallery experience could make their mark on the streets of New York — could go to the hippest night clubs, could mix with musical culture — was very exciting to me. It was where I came from — I always thought music and art went hand in hand together…”

Basquiat (1960 – 1988) first appeared on the artistic scene as part of the graffiti duo SAMO©, based around the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in the late 1970s. He quickly rose to fame for his works, dichotomies and amalgamations that used a variety of creative genres (poetry, sketches, paintings etc.) to offer social commentary. Basquiat is considered the grandchild of Andy Warhol, with whom he collaborated for a handful of projects.

The rare self-portrait, “Untitled,” will be presented by Christie’s as a major highlight of the auction house’s “Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction” on March 7, London.