Created in 1982—a particularly important moment in the career of Jean-Michel Basquiat, after his discovery as an artist, and before his period of maximum productivity—Man from Naples is an essential work for understanding the development of Basquiat's painting during the 1980s. In Man from Naples, the artist apparently regarded the entire surface of the canvas as a big blackboard where he could scribble and mix signs. The title of the painting comes from a phrase written over the head of a red pig which, although surrounded by countless inscriptions, splashes of color, cross-outs, and elementary signs, dominates the composition like a totemic image. Humor, irony, and primitivism define this forceful, representative painting.


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