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Since many of Basquiat's works are untitled, I'm having a hard time finding more historical details on the internet about specific paintings he made. For example, how can I learn more about this painting, or even find any information about it?

Basquiat's "Untitled" painting

art.com calls it "Untitled", this book "JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT" by Dieter Buchhart calls it "Untitled, 1983", this KidRobot figurine that uses the image calls it "Mad Robot", and this google image search using a screenshot of the painting returns barely any results, and none specific to the work, despite recognizing it as a Jean-Michel Basquiat work. This list on Wikipedia of Jean-Michel Basquiat works has 219 images, but none of the work in question.

So I'm asking a question about this specific artwork: what is it called? How can I learn more about it?

I'm also asking a more general question: how does anyone find information on the internet about untitled artworks by prolific artists? It's actually kind of a scary experience to look for something on the internet that I expected to be easy to find, only to realize that the internet is primarily concerned with documenting the very most popular pieces of pop-culture. My local library lists several books by, and about, Basquiat the artist and person, but what if they don't mention this work? Is my only option really to read 10 books and hope that this painting might be described in one of them?

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  • have you tried emailing Buchhart and asking, he is considered an expert on basquiat and maybe he would reply with some information.
    – ed.hank
    Sep 5 '21 at 13:53
  • Thanks, that's a great suggestion! I didn't think to ask, but I'm sure they would know more, so I will. I'm still left with the general question though, how can I use the internet to learn more about untitled works? Many famous artists have produced many untitled works - especially contemporary and abstract artists. For example, many of Mark Rothko's paintings are untitled, and they offer no obvious way to search by text. They are uniformly stripes of color, and many use the same colors in the same range of time. "Rothko orange and yellow 1969" for example isn't very helpful. Sep 5 '21 at 17:00
  • Ahh Rothko, one of my personal favs, have you been to the chapel in houston? I think he is at least a little bit better cataloged than Basquiat. I cant remember the exact show where it had a few Rothko's and experts were totally fooled by a chinese painter, great show if i can remember the name I will post it. Also who knows you may get a reply from Buchhart himself, but I am betting at least one of his art students or someone else involved with the catalogue. He seems to have the most complete catalog around.
    – ed.hank
    Sep 7 '21 at 13:43
  • The catalog raisonne by Richard Marshall et al seems the standard work for Basquiat, but it was very expensive when new and now is going for at least US$2000. You'd need to find it in a library. That's how it works: you need to find the reference book that most critics refer to, and find how it's identified there (possibly by number/page). There's no great secret to it.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 17 at 10:29
  • StuartF I do understand the principles of research offline. My question is coming from a place more of shock and dismay. If I pull out my cell phone right now, I can take a picture of any plant in my yard, and my camera will tell me exactly what species of plant it is using computer vision. Or, if I leave my phone on the table in a crowded bar, it will print across the display the title and artist of any song playing in the background. The idea that some rudimentary form of this is not available, even for works by the best known and influential artists of a century, is surprising. Jan 18 at 17:11
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You have to go a bit old-style and search through academic publications on the artist. While the Internet can help a lot for finding specific books, catalogues and articles that may be online; unless you know the location or owner of the artwork it will be hard to find a "search tool" that just gives you an instant result and info on particular "untitled" works, specially with artists as prolific as Basquiat. Museums and galleries websites can also help, specially the bigger ones. Google Academic might be a bit better than just Google.

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