Alex Rodriguez Starts Collecting as Couple with Jennifer Lopez by Selling His Basquiat and Prince Paintings at Phillips

Former American baseball star Alex Rodriguez is selling two paintings from his private collection at Phillips' 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in London. The artworks, Pink Elephant with Fire Engine by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Mustang Painting by Richard Prince, can fetch a total of up to £5m. In an interview with the auction house, he states that the reason for selling is to "begin a new collecting journey" with fiancee Jennifer Lopez. 

Former American baseball star Alex Rodriguez and his fiancee Jennifer Lopez

Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of Rodriguez's favourite artists of all time

Alex Rodriguez, or A-Rod, is most famous for playing 22 seasons for Major League Baseball for the teams Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. Little did we know that he is also a passionate art collector, and has been building his collection for a decade. In an interview with a representative from the auction house, Rodriquez tells us that he is most drawn to contemporary artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 - 1988), Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987) and Keith Haring (1958 - 1990). Basquiat, in particular, is one of his "favourite artists of all time". 

Rodriguez photographed with Basquiat's Pink Elephant with Fire Engine (1984)

Pink Elephant with Fire Engine (1984) by Jean-Michel Basquiat 

The artworks that Rodriguez admire are closely connected to his identity and character. Having been born and raised in New York, Rodriguez's collection is comprised of artists who predominantly originate from the city. The artworks that he is offering in this Phillip's sale by Prince and Basquiat are prime examples that show New York City's vibrancy and they have been residing in the athelete's Florida home.

Estimated at £3 - 4m, Pink Elephant with Fire Engine by Jean-Michel Basquiat not only pulsates with the artist’s characteristic energy, but also mirrors the energy of New York's busting cultural scene. The composition conveys the archetypical noise of New York City’s busy streets through the fire engine and its constitutive sirens. At the same time, the artist mobilises references that are geographically distant, through the presence of a pink elephant in the top right quadrant. 

Mustang Painting (2014 - 2016) by Richard Prince

Richard Prince

Mustang Painting by Richard Prince was executed in 2014 to 2016 and has an estimate of £700,000 - 1m. The painting depicts a mustang cruising amidst an abstract mass of blue paint, a perfect example of how the artist captures different facets of the American Dream through American objects and subjects. The most celebrated works of Prince focus on various elements of the same fetishised culture: cars, nurses, cowboys and dry jokes.

Untitled (1982) by Jean-Michel Basquiat fetched US$110.5m

Nurse of Greenmeadow by Prince was sold for US$8.565m

Both Basquiat and Prince's works have been highly sought-after in recent years. Basquiat's Untitled (1982) became the auction world's most expensive work by an American artist as well as the most expensive artwork created post 1980 when it fetched US$110.5m at Sotheby's New York in May 2017. One of the "Nurse" paintings by Prince- Nurse of Greenmeadow, created in 2002, was sold in May 2014 at Christie’s New York for US$8.565m. 

Lots from Alex Rodriguez's private collection

Pink Elephant with Fire Engine. Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 - 1988). 

Lot no.: 21
Created in: 1984

  • Mary Boone Gallery, New York and Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich
  • Akira Ikeda Gallery, Tokyo
  • Tony Shafrazi, New York
  • Private Collection, London
  • Private Collection
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: £3,000,000 - 4,000,000 (US$3,799,968 - 5,066,624)

Mustang Painting. Richard Prince (b. 1949). 

Lot no.: 20
Created in: 2014 - 2016

  • Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist)
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: £700,000 - £1,000,000 (US$886,659 - 1,266,656)\

Auction details

Auction house: Phillips London
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale
Date: 27 June 2019