Jean-Michel Basquiat's painting In this Case sold for $93.1 million in an auction Tuesday at Christie's in New York, the second-highest price paid for a work by the late artist.

The 1983 painting, which depicts a skull on a red background, sold for $81 million, but with fees and commissions the final price came to $93.1 million, well above the estimate of $50 million.

It was another skull, Untitled, that set the record for the most expensive by Basquiat (1960-1988), which went for $110.5 million in May 2017 at Sotheby's in New York.

In This Case reprises two dominant themes in Basquiat's work, anatomy and representation of African American characters.

'Untitled' set the record for the most expensive painting by Basquiat. Photo: pinterest.com'Untitled' set the record for the most expensive painting by Basquiat. Photo: pinterest.com

In a sign of Basquiat's growing status in the art world, the same canvas was sold in November 2002 for just $999,500, barely more than a hundredth of the price paid on Tuesday. 

With the exception of New York-based Basquiat, African American painters have long been undervalued by collectors and underrepresented in museums. 

In recent years, the market has started a process of re-evaluating many of them.

On Tuesday, Christie's had presented several Black artists as part of its big spring sale.

'Diplomacy III' by British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye was sold for $1.95 million on Tuesday. Photo: Christies.com'Diplomacy III' by British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye was sold for $1.95 million on Tuesday. Photo: Christies.com

A Nina Chanel Abney work sold for $990,000, a Jordan Casteel went for $687,500 and a Rashid Johnson fetched $1.95 million.

A work by British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye was sold for $1.95 million and a piece by Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui went under the hammer for $1.95 million, all of them setting new records.

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