With his wily paintings and social commentary, Jean-Michel Basquiat has become one of the most famous neo-expressionist artists. The late artist's work now sells for hundreds of millions and a small selection of pieces were supposed to be touring the world over the next few years.
But... the FBI's art crime team seized 25 paintings, painted on cardboard and ranging from 10 inches to 5ft from a recent Basquiat exhibition in the Orlando Museum of Art. And the thing that gave it away, you ask? The FedEx typeface on the cardboard (if you want to have a go at painting your own pieces, then check out our roundup of the best art supplies).
According to The Art Newspaper (opens in new tab), Aaron De Groft, the Director of the Orlando Museum, told the New York Times that the collection was from 1982 and was sold to screenwriter Thad Mumford. Mumford was apparently forced to auction the designs off in 2012 after being unable to pay for their storage.
However, the plot hole in De Groft's story stems from the typography used on the FedEx box that Basquiat so famously used as canvases. While the paintings were supposedly created in 1982, it has since been confirmed by Lindon Leader, the artist who redesigned the FedEx font, that the typeface matches the designs he created in 1994 – six years after Basquiat's death. De Groft has since been removed from his post.
While we wait for the confirmation on the actual authenticity of the paintings, why not have a go at creating your own neo-expressionist paintings? Check out our roundup of the best oil paints. Or if you're feeling inspired by all this font talk, you'll love our list of the best free fonts.