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Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat has been in the news lately: Name-checked in song by Jay Z, on his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail; breaking auction records at Christie’s, where one of his untitled works sold for $29m to an anonymous bidder. There’s even talk of a Broadway musical based on Basquiat’s life. Mr. Valentino has long been a collector of Basquiat’s work. But the relationship between Valentino and Basquiat goes deeper, and goes back further, than that. The Fall ’06 Valentino collection paid tribute to the artist, with dresses in a graffiti print licensed from the Basquiat archive. And Mr. Valentino knew Jean-Michel Basquiat before he was famous. “He used to loiter outside my fashion house,” Valentino told The Art Newspaper in 2008. “He was flirting with one of the English girls who worked for me.”

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