1980s New York

6/06/2018     News Stories & Press Release, Impressionist, Modern & Post War Art

Graffiti Collection – The writings on the wall

26 June 2018

Highlights from Roseberys 26th June 20th Century Art & Design auction include lots 471-475 a group of Graffiti art from a Private Collector living in New York in the 1980s. The works were purchased from one of Joyce Chasan’s first Graffiti exhibitions at the Graffiti Aboveground Gallery.

By the 1980s with the extension of the New York subway, graffiti had spread beyond Washington Heights and the Bronx. Subway trains were the hub of this counterculture, and soon it was not too long until there were ‘turf wars’ amongst the graffiti artists. This led to a major police crackdown on the artists and their graffiti on the subways.

Graffitists were left with nowhere to go, as the streets were too dangerous because of the crack epidemic. Joyce Chasan, the owner of the Graffiti Aboveground Gallery, New York, encouraged a group of young artists to come off the streets and produce pieces that for the first time, could be sold and exhibited in a gallery. Now, today many of these artists are considered to be graffiti icons and are represented in galleries and museums internationally.

Lot 471, by American Artist Daze born in 1962. The worked entitled Dazed, Love is a watercolour and black ink – signed and dated 1981. The piece was purchased in June 1981 by the current owner directly from Graffiti Aboveground Gallery, New York.

Lot 471, by American Artist Daze born in 1962.

The worked entitled Dazed, Love is a watercolour and black ink – signed and dated 1981. The piece was purchased in June 1981 by the current owner directly from Graffiti Aboveground Gallery, New York.

Daze (aka Chris Ellis) continues to live and work in New York, and can be attributed along with Keith Haring and Jean-Michelle Basquiat as creating the entire street art movement, of the late 70s early 80s.

As an artist he has successfully made the transition into the galleries without losing his authentic style that is an acknowledgement of the grittiness of the streets.

He continues his work in the streets with large murals and his canvas work is prolific. He also lectures and holds workshops internationally.£600-800








Lot 472 entitled Dazed, is a watercolour and black ink – signed and dated 1981.

Purchased from the Aboveground Gallery in 1981.

The artists has kindly confirmed the authenticity of both works.










Continuing in the Graffiti section is lot 473 by American artist Pink Lady (born 1964).

‘La Dama Rosa’ is a mixed media piece signed ‘Pink Lady’ and dated 1982. Again purchased from the Aboveground Gallery in 1981 by the current owner.

La Dama Rosa is the Spanish translation of Pink Lady. The character is inspired by a cover of a book by Barbara Cartland, which the artist read during her childhood.

Pink Lady born in Ecuador and raised in New York was one of the few females in the Graffiti scene, rubbing shoulders with the boys and using her work as empowerment for women and rebellious self-expression. She is a cult figure in the hip hop scene and today shares her knowledge and style in youth workshops




Lot 474, is attributed to Iz the Wiz, American graffiti artist 1958-2009. Purchased from the same gallery in 1981.

Iz the Wiz – king of New York (aka Michael Martin)

Martin grew up in the Queens District of New York. He later recalled: “I wanted to do something with myself and be a part of something. The neighbourhood I was in – it was either become a gangster, a drug addict, a musician or – here’s something new. It was creative, it was secretive, and it was a secret society.”

Iz the Wiz, was the hero of the streets – Achieving fame and acclaim in the Hip Hop scene but,

less so in the gallery setting. Making this work not only of historical importance but, a piece of the streets for any collector.

Martin passed away at only 50 – continuous health problems (thought to be triggered from the years of inhaling spray paint and dust) got the better of him and he collapsed at his brother’s home in 2009.

His painting career starting at the age of just 14. His work has been exhibited around the world and he has been the focal point of many book, films and documentaries £600-800


The final lot in the street art collection is lot 475 by Crash (American – born 1961). Aka John Matos has carved a successful career since the beginning of the 80s. His work is said to convey the “visual link between street life and established society”.

His 30 year career has seen him work in collaboration with Keith Haring and create bespoke graffiti adorned guitars for Eric Clapton. Most recently he was commissioned by Ed Sheeran in 2015 to create the ‘Crash x Teddy M’ Stratocaster in collaboration with British artists Teddy M. His work is held in numerous American public collections.

From his teenage years, Crash, whose name was born after he crashed the computer in his school, began following the older teens from his neighbourhood to the train yards and began graffiti-ing. His name began appearing on trains circulating all throughout New York City. By 1980, he began transitioning from train yards to galleries, he curated the ground-breaking “Graffiti Art Success for America” at Fashion MODA, launching the graffiti movement that has remained very active through today. Crash’s career took off and he saw instant popularity throughout Europe and America, and eventually Asia.

‘Crash’ is spray paint on canvas, signed on the front. 274 x 145.5cm, purchased by the current owner in 1981 from the Aboveground Gallery.







20th Century Art & Design takes place on Tuesday 26 June at 10am.

Viewing Times:


Friday 22 June 1-5pm

Sunday 24 June 10am-2pm

Monday 25 June 9.30am-5.30pm

Tuesday 26 June 9-9.45am




For further information please contact Charlotte Meddings charlottemeddings@roseberys.co.uk  +44 (0) 20 8761 2522


Roseberys is a privately owned auction house operating at the heart of the fine art market for 30 years.

With offices in London’s Mayfair and Lambeth Roseberys offer a calendar of more than twelve specialist fine art, antiques and collectibles auctions each year.

Specialist sales include a wide range of Asian and Islamic Arts, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design, Decorative Art, Fine Silver and Jewellery, Ceramics, Paintings, Prints, Photography, Antique Textiles, Vintage Fashion and Fine Wine and Whisky.

Roseberys team of world-renowned specialists also provide a wide range of art market services to professional clients, including valuations for insurance and probate.



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