Currently on view (Gallery 306)

Man from Naples

1982Acrylic and collage on wood
124 x 246.7 x 3.5 cm

Man from Naples and Moses and the Egyptians, both completed in 1982, were created at a particularly important moment in the career of Jean-Michel Basquiat, after his discovery as an artist, and before his period of maximum productivity. Both pieces are essential for understanding the development of his painting during the 1980s.

In Man from Naples, the artist apparently regarded the entire surface 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.

Original title

Man from Naples




Acrylic and collage on wood


124 x 246.7 x 3.5 cm

Credit line

Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa


Man from Naples, by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Man from Naples (1982), by Jean-Michel Basquiat, is a mosaic of culinary and street references, chosen by chef Andoni Luis Aduriz as an icon. In conversation with curator Lekha Hileman Waitoller, Aduriz shares his thoughts on the humor, the irony, and the primitivism that lie at the heart of this painting’s expressive power.