The FBI's Crimes Against Art team is investigating the authenticity of 25 paintings presented in February at the Orlando Museum of Art (USA, state of Florida). The museum director claims that all the paintings were painted by Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1982. If their authenticity is confirmed, the collection could be valued at $100 million.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat's life (1960-1988) undoubtedly belongs to the biographies of "young, angry" artists. In his short life, this New York-based contemporary painter has had a staggering career, his paintings are now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He collaborated with Andy Warhol, with whom he created over 100 paintings, and had an affair with Madonna. He inspired the New York bohemian scene, and incorporated elements of primitive African art, contemporary 'street art' and comic books into his compositions. He died tragically, as a result of a heroin overdose, at the age of just 27. Thus, he joined the so-called 27 Club (a term describing artists who, for various reasons, died at the age of 27, such as Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix). As Fred Brathwaite, a fellow artist, commented: , "Jean-Michel lived like a flame. It burned really bright. Then the fire went out. But the embers are still hot'.

It is worth mentioning that in 1966 a film about the artist's life was made; the Polish director Lech Majewski also took part in the work on the film.

FBI investigation

According to the museum's official history, Basquiat sold 25 paintings created in 1982 to TV producer Thad Mumford for $5,000. There they lay in oblivion for 30 years, until they were bought at auction in 2012 by William Force and Lee Mangin for $15,000. One important piece of evidence of forgery is the opinion of a brand expert who helped redesign the FedEx logo and typeface. On the back of at least one of the cardboard images is a font that the shipping company did not use until 1994 - six years after Basquiat's death.

Added 2022-07-01 in by Alicja Graczyk

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