The painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, icon of brands

On August 20, Alexandre Arnault himself teased the news. On his Instagram account, the executive vice-president of products and communication of the jeweler Tiffany & Co, and son of Bernard Arnault, owner of the American jeweler, publishes a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Equals pi, accompanied by these lines: “Stay tuned. Something is cooking ”(“ Stay with us. Something is cooking ”). Three days later, the 30-something reveals the house’s new advertising campaign on his Instagram account. On the screen, the painting hangs behind Jay-Z and Beyoncé, the most famous couple in the music industry.

The singer and his dreadlocks recalls the figure of the artist who died of an overdose in 1988. His companion is dressed as Audrey Hepburn in the film Diamonds on sofa (Blake Edwards, 1961), a famous scene of which takes place in Tiffany’s store on Ve Avenue. On her neck, the famous Tiffany Diamond, a 128-carat daffodil diamond. With 14,500 “likes”, the figure is excellent for an account followed by 130,000 subscribers. The communication is very skilful, Tiffany, emblematic brand of the American establishment, long very white, here shows its openness to diversity by choosing as spokesperson the most emblematic couple of black America.

“After Cartier red or Hermès orange, here is Tiffany blue transfigured by the reference to Basquiat. »Christophe Rioux, professor at Science Po

This campaign was born by chance at the beginning of the year. Hardly had the French luxury giant finalized, on January 7, the takeover of the legendary jeweler of the Ve Avenue that
Bernard Arnault received from a New York merchant the offer to buy Equals pi, dated 1982. Since the 1980s, the collector has acquired a dozen works by Basquiat. In 2018-2019, the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris devoted a large retrospective to him, which attracted 676,503 visitors.

If there was still a need to convince Bernard Arnault, the dealer specifies that the blue background of the painting corresponds to the Pantone 1837, the chromatic signature of the jeweler. The billionaire collides immediately. “After Cartier red or Hermès orange, here is Tiffany blue transfigured by the reference to Basquiat”, analyzes Christophe Rioux, professor specializing in luxury and the creative industries at Sciences Po. “We immediately bought the painting”, confirms Alexandre Arnault. The Arnault family will learn later from an article inArtnet that the Basquiat belonged to the Sabbadini, a family of Milanese jewelers.

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