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Basquiat at Tiffany’s—Beyoncé and Jay-Z pose in jewellery ad alongside ‘unseen’ painting

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The Carters and Basquiat's Equals Pi via Tiffany.com (photo: Mason Poole)

The Carters and Basquiat's Equals Pi via Tiffany.com (photo: Mason Poole)

Take the world’s most famous woman, her headline-hitting husband and throw in a blue-chip artist—jewellery brand Tiffany & Co have done just that, bringing power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z together for an opulent new ad campaign called “About Love” which will be launched globally 2 September. The Carters pose nonchalantly alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work Equals Pi which has a rather complex provenance. People magazine says that the Basquiat work comes from the artist’s “private collection” and is “making its first ever public appearance in this campaign”. According to Artnet News though, the Basquiat painting was offered at Sotheby’s London in June 1990 with an estimate of £180,000 to £250,000 but failed to sell. In 1996 the work sold for £155,500 at the same auction house. Twitter sleuth Greg Allen does a good job tracking its provenance, highlighting the work’s most recent owner, the Milan-based Sabbadini jewellery dynasty; Tiffany & Co, which was bought by luxury giant LVMH recently, now own the eggshell blue piece apparently. "Love is the diamond that the jewellery and art decorate," gush the Carter couple in a statement. But not everyone is enamoured with the lavish publicity. “Basquiat wasn’t the type of person or artist to approve of his pieces being used in an ad from multiple billionaires,” said a contributor on Twitter (ouch).

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