In a Tiffany campaign, Beyoncé and Jay-Z pose with a previously unseen Basquiat.
eyoncé and Jay-Z star in a new Tiffany & Co. campaign about modern love,
which features Basquiat’s artwork as a backdrop. The long-unseen turquoise painting, titled Equals Pi (1982), designed to echo the luxury retailer’s distinctive shade of blue.
The picture, which contains the artist’s famous skulls and scrawled text with slogans like “AMORITE”, “TEN YEN”, and “DUNCE”
before appearing in the current Tiffany campaign, formerly owned by two other jewelry moguls: Alberto and Stefania Sabbadini.
It discovered with other works by Andy Warhol, George Condo, Anselm Kiefer, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, and René Magritte in their Milan apartment.
The family paid about $253,000 for it at a Sotheby’s London auction in 1996. According to WWD, the Sabbadinis recently sold it privately for an undisclosed fee to the luxury jewelry business.
“It’s extraordinary that Tiffany identified the single painting that had a connection to Tiffany,” says Larry Warsh, a Basquiat collector who has seen the painting in prior museum displays. “It’s an incredible partnership and a pivotal work in the series.”
Beyoncé appears in the Tiffany ad wearing an all-black diamond-studded Balmain ensemble inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s attire in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Meanwhile, Jay-Z wears clothing that meant to resemble Basquiat’s appearance on the cover of New York Magazine in 1985.
Basquiat’s adoration by the Carters is well-documented. In 2013, the Brooklyn-born rapper paid $4.2 million for Basquiat’s painting Mecca (1982) at Sotheby’s. The word “Empire” scrawled over the top beneath the artist’s distinctive crown in that work, which represents a New York landscape.
The commercial is part of a bigger Tiffany campaign that focuses on modern love. Beyoncé and Jay-Z collaborated on a short video for the project alongside Emmanuel Adjei, a director who worked on Beyoncé’s visual album Black Is King.
In a statement, Alexandre Arnault, executive vice president of product and communications, said, “As a brand that has always stood for love, strength, and self-expression, we could not think of a more legendary couple who better symbolizes Tiffany’s values.”
The brand purchased by the luxury conglomerate LVMH at the start of the year,
and the management and creative teams reformed to revitalize the venerable jewelry house.
On September 2,
the campaign will officially launched, along with a print edition and a film created specifically for the cause. The campaign’s visuals and other materials will published throughout the year. Tiffany & Co. has agreed to provide $2 million to fund scholarship and internship programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities as part of their relationship with the Carters.
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