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Former Director Sued by Art Museum for Alleged Forgery of Basquiat Paintings

A central Florida art museum, which was raided by the FBI last year over a exhibit of forged Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings, has filed a lawsuit against its former executive director and others involved in the scheme. The Orlando Museum of Art is seeking undisclosed damages for fraud, breach of contract, and conspiracy. The museum was left with a tarnished reputation and was put on probation by the American Alliance of Museums. The artwork in question was purportedly discovered in an old storage locker years after Basquiat’s death, but questions about their authenticity arose immediately. Former Los Angeles auctioneer Michael Barzman has already pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the fake artwork.

It is unfortunate that the Orlando Museum of Art fell victim to this alleged forgery scheme involving Basquiat paintings. The museum’s trust and reputation were compromised, and they incurred significant financial losses. This serves as a reminder to always exercise caution and due diligence when showcasing valuable artwork.

Art forgery is an issue that continues to plague the art world. As technology advances, so do the skills of counterfeiters. Museums and collectors must remain vigilant and rely on experts to authenticate artworks to avoid falling into these traps. The case of the Orlando Museum of Art highlights the importance of thorough research and verification before displaying any artwork, especially those attributed to renowned artists like Basquiat.


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