A picture of the recovered Basquiat. Photo: Guardia Civil.

Woman Apprehended for Stealing Basquiat Work

A sixty-seven-year-old woman was arrested in Mallorca last week for stealing a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Untitled, 1982, from a collector who lives in the town of Alcúdia, reports Victor Forés Palma of the paper Diario de Mallorca. The woman, who worked for the owner of the Basquiat, was going to hold the work ransom for about $35,000—an amount the woman claims the collector owes her. The collector picked up the work, which remained undamaged, from the police station and packed away in its original crate. Apparently, the work was acquired directly from the artist’s father and has never appeared on the market.

Some art experts, however, are claiming that the piece is a forgery. Miquel Font, an art collector, believes it’s a fake because the piece is overrun with the artist’s motifs: “Basquiat used words in his painting, but there are too many here, he didn’t use that many,” he said. The dealer Frederic Pinya, director of Galeria Pelaires, said the work should be properly authenticated. But the authentication committee for the Basquiat estate dissolved in 2012, and the estate has yet to comment on the situation.