Madonna Says Jean-Michel Basquiat Took Back and Destroyed Paintings He Gave Her

 March 16, 2015



Madonna, queen of pop, has opened up about her early 1980s relationship with painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, and it would appear the two had a pretty ugly breakup.

Basquiat, who died in 1988 at the age of 27, went on to become a hugely successful artist, due in part to his close ties to Andy Warhol.

As for his time with Madonna, the pair dated when both were on the cusp of wider fame, when Madonna was at work on her eponymous debut album. But when things ended, they ended badly.

“He wouldn’t stop doing heroin. He was an amazing man and deeply talented, I loved him,”

said Madonna on a recent appearance on the Howard Stern Show (via Art Market Monitor).

“When I broke up with him he made me give [the paintings he gave me] back to him. And then he painted over them black.”

Even if she had been able to hold on to Basquiat’s art, there’s no guarantee the artist’s family would have acknowledged the works were by his hand. Last year, Alexis Adler, another one of his ex-girlfriends, attempted to sell at Christie’s a cache of artworks he had left her. Basquiat’s sisters responded with a $1 million law suit.

Though Madonna’s relationship with the painter was short-lived, Basquiat’s artistic drive had a profound impact on her. For a recent article in Interview magazine, the singer spoke with magician David Blaine about Basquiat’s work ethic.

“I remember getting up in the middle of the night and he wouldn’t be in bed lying next to me; he’d be standing, painting, at four in the morning, this close to the canvas, in a trance. I was blown away by that, that he worked when he felt moved.”

The singer recently included Basquiat’s photo in a poorly received social media campaign for her upcoming album, Rebel Heart. Madonna recreated the cover, which depicts her face wrapped in bondage cords, with photos of Basquiat and other deceased celebrities and important figures including Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bob Marley, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, and John Lennon.

As for what artists are currently inspiring her, Madonna is a fan of graffiti artists Banksy and JR because “their art is on the street, available for anyone to see. It’s not elitist.”

Madonna recently came under fire for refusing to loan a rare Frida Kahlo painting to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Originally published: artnet News,


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