Why the FBI is investigating whether the collection is fake

The search warrant used to remove the “Heroes and Monsters” exhibit from the Orlando Museum of Art details the grounds for suspicion surrounding the collection’s authenticity. The paintings, which are part of the “Mumford Collection”, are said to have been made in 1982 by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Officials explain that the paintings have been under investigation since 2012. “The investigation has revealed false information regarding the alleged previous ownership of the paintings, the documents related to ownership and discrepancies with the number of paintings in the exhibition,” the search warrant. According to official information, forensic information shows that the cardboard one of the paintings contains a font created in 1994, long after Basquiat passed away. artwork is authentic. The document states that investigators interviewed Thaddeus Mumford, who is said to have been the original owner of the collection and bought it in 1982. In the 2014 interview, researchers said Mumford said he never bought artwork from Basquiat. locker where the art was believed to have been found two years earlier and there was no Basquiat artwork in his locker. He once denied that, according to the search warrant, two men, who are not identified in the document, called Mumford and his attorney in 2012 and stated that they had purchased the contents of Mumford’s locker, which contained the Basquiat paintings. When Mumford claimed he never owned such paintings, the men asked him to claim he did so they could sell the artwork for $1 million. The men advised Mumford to answer “no comment” when asked about the history of the paintings. Mumford died in 2018. The search warrant further states that the collection would end prematurely and be transferred to Italy. The significant advance date of the international departure of the Mumford Collection from OMA is to avoid further investigation of the provenance and authenticity of the works by the public and law enforcement officers,” the document reads. The CEO and Director of the Orlando Museum of Art, Aaron De Groft, is out of work after the FBI raid on the museum last week Joann Walfish, who previously served as CFO, has been named interim COO.The Heroes and Monsters exhibit, including the recent revelation of an inappropriate email correspondence sent to academia regarding the authentication of some of the artworks in the exhibition,” said Cynthia Bru, president of the museum’s board. mback wrote in a statement. “We have initiated an official process to address these matters as they are inconsistent with this institution’s values, our business standards, and our standards of conduct.” A week after the exhibition opened at the OMA in February, De Groft spoke to WESH and quickly defended the authenticity of the pieces. “We don’t doubt it. We stick with it. They are original,” said De Groft. He added: “It is not the job of the OMA to authenticate art. They came to us authenticated by the top specialists at Basquiat.” According to the FBI’s search warrant, an art professor was paid about $60,000 to write a report on the collection. But the professor later found that her report was being used publicly with the exhibit. So she sent an email to the museum director saying, “I am in no way authorized to authenticate unknown works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and do not wish to be involved in this exhibition.” The next day De Groft replied in an e-mail: “You want us to get it out, do you have $60 grand to write this? All right then. Shut up. You took the money. Stop being holier than you. You didn’t do this to me or anyone else,” he said. “Shut up now is my best advice. These are real and legit. You know this. You’re threatening the wrong people.” WESH 2 has contacted De Groft but has not heard back,” said Robert Wittman. Wittman is the founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team. Now that the FBI has its hands on the paintings, he said experts will forensically examine them. “You’re looking for things like paint that might not have existed in 1982, that would have been used at a later date, looking for background cardboard, background cloths that don’t match the age-appropriate time,” he said. Wittman said that counterfeits harmful to the art world.” You destroy an artist’s credibility if you do that. You destroy the collector’s market because once someone is ripped off and burned like that, they don’t want to be involved in the market anymore. So you lose collectors,” he said. “The movement of counterfeits, fraud and counterfeits in the art world is a terrible situation. I would say that 75% of the world’s art crime industry, which is a $6 billion industry, deals in fraud, counterfeiting and counterfeiting. theft. They are fraud, forgeries and forgeries.’

The search warrant used to remove the “Heroes and Monsters” exhibit from the Orlando Museum of Art details the grounds for suspicion surrounding the collection’s authenticity.

The paintings, which are part of the “Mumford Collection”, are said to have been created in 1982 by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Officials explain that the paintings have been under investigation since 2012.

“The investigation has uncovered false information regarding the alleged prior ownership of the paintings, ownership documents and discrepancies with the number of paintings in the exhibition,” the warrant reads.

Officials say forensic information indicates that the cardboard on which one of the paintings was made contains a font created in 1994, long after Basquiat passed away.

In addition, the document states that several Basquiat experts have said they do not believe the artwork is authentic.

The document states that investigators interviewed Thaddeus Mumford, who is said to have been the original owner of the collection and bought it in 1982.

In the 2014 interview, researchers said Mumford said:

  1. That he never bought any artwork by Basquiat.
  2. He had visited the storage vault where the art would have been found two years earlier, and there was no Basquiat artwork in his vault.
  3. He denied ever having owned Basquiat’s artwork.

According to the search warrant, two men, not identified in the document, called Mumford and his attorney in 2012 and stated that they had purchased the contents of Mumford’s locker, which contained the Basquiat paintings.

When Mumford claimed he never had such paintings, the men asked him to claim he did so they could sell the artwork for $1 million. The men advised Mumford to answer “no comment” when asked about the history of the paintings.

Mumford passed away in 2018.

The search warrant also states that the collection would end prematurely and be taken to Italy.

“I believe the significant advance date of the international departure of the Mumford Collection from OMA is to avoid further investigation of the provenance and authenticity of the works by the public and law enforcement officials,” the document reads.

The CEO and director of the Orlando Museum of Art, Aaron De Groft, is out of work after the FBI raided the museum last week.

Joann Walfish, who previously served as CFO, has been appointed interim COO.

“The Orlando Museum of Art Board of Trustees is deeply concerned about several issues related to the Heroes and Monsters exhibit, including the recent disclosure of an inappropriate email correspondence sent to academia regarding the authentication some of the artworks in the exhibit,” museum board chairman Cynthia Brumback said in a statement. “We have launched an official process to address these issues as they are inconsistent with this institution’s values, our business standards and our standards of conduct.”

A week after the exhibition opened at the OMA in February, De Groft spoke to WESH and quickly defended the authenticity of the pieces.

“We don’t doubt it. We stick with it. They are original,” said De Groft.

He added: “It is not the job of the OMA to authenticate art. They came to us authenticated by the top specialists at Basquiat.”

According to the FBI’s search warrant, an art professor was paid about $60,000 to write a report on the collection. But the professor later found that her report was being used publicly with the exhibit. So she sent an email to the museum director saying, “I am in no way authorized to authenticate unknown works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and do not want to be involved in this show.”

The next day, De Groft replied in an email: “You want us to go there, you have $60 grand to write this? All right. Shut up. You took the money. Stop being holier than you. You didn’t do this to me or anyone else,” he said. “Shut up now is my best advice. These are real and legit. You know this. You’re threatening the wrong people.”

WESH 2 has contacted De Groft, but has not heard back.

“I think the FBI did a good job of getting these paintings back or taking them off the market for the time being,” said Robert Wittman.

Wittman is the founder of the FBI Art Crime Team. Now that the FBI has their hands on the paintings, he said experts will forensically examine them.

“You’re looking for things like paint that might not have existed in 1982, that would have been used at a later date, looking for backdrop cardboard, backdrop canvases that aren’t age-appropriate,” he said.

Wittman said counterfeits are harmful to the art world.

“You destroy an artist’s credibility when you do that. You destroy the collector’s market because once someone is ripped off and burned like that, they don’t want to be involved in the market anymore. So you lose collectors,” he said. “The movement of counterfeits, fraud and counterfeits in the art world is a terrible situation. I would say that 75% of the art crime industry in the world, which is a $6 billion industry, deals in fraud, counterfeits and counterfeits. It is fraud. , counterfeits and counterfeits.’

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