It depicts two wolves wearing human clothes, one with a red hat and bow tie holding an axe, the other dressed in blue, sitting down looking at his watch. On either side of the wolves are two trees bearing fruits - one apple tree to the left and another pear tree to the right.
There are also three buildings behind them:
- A factory surrounded by pipes emitting smoke
- An office building labeled "US Steel" with antennae on top
- A brick-walled house where there is no chimney
In the foreground, to the right of the wolves and trees, is an overturned car with smoke coming from its bonnet. There are two other cars in the distance – one parked under a street light and another speeding away from a green cone. Looking closely at these details, we can see that Wolf Sausage has both surrealist elements and the early Basquiat's signature style.
The theme of Wolf Sausage
Wolf Sausage is a painting that is rich in details and symbolism. The setting of the painting seems to be reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic or dystopian world. Other than the two wolves, there are several other hazards, such as the three buildings emitting smoke and the burning car overturned. The wolves can also be interpreted to represent humanity and its savagery, while trees bearing fruits symbolize innocence and hope. It also shows social issues such as environmental pollution, economic downturns, our reliance on toxic substances, and so forth – something often found in Basquiat's earlier work.
The Medium Used in Wolf Sausage
The medium used in this work is acrylic, with some oil paint and collage. The canvas, which measures 184 cm x 114cm, is stained with various colors – from browns to yellows and greens. He also used layers of white paint to create the smoke that emanates from the factory chimney. The painting of Wolf Sausage was found in a garage sale by the son of Jean-Michel Basquiat's friend Dan Sullivan that he used to visit on weekend afternoons along with his best friend, Al Diaz.
The Current Location of this Artwork
This painting is currently housed in the collection of the Sperone Westwater Gallery on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There had been rumors of the painting being sold at Sotheby's in 2016, but it was a hoax, and no sale took place.