In November the Art Fraud division of the FBI located Jean-Michel Basquiat’s smuggled painting “Hannibal” from a warehouse in Manhattan. Basquiat created the oil collage (acrylic, oil stick on paper) in 1982.
The collage was slipped through customs unnoticed in August using false documents. The Basquiat was passed off as a reproduction worth $100. On Wednesday, federal prosecutors filed papers for a warrant to have the piece seized and exported back to Brazil.
The painting disappeared after its last owner, art collector Edemar Cid Ferreira, was convicted of money laundering. The painting’s provenance has since become mysterious and murky. Ferreira had been CEO of Banco Santos, which went bankrupt in 2005 with a debt of over $1 billion. “Hannibal,” among other famous artworks went missing before Ferreira was arrested. Most all of the art bought by him and his family had been reportedly been obtained by illegal means. The Brazilian government estimates the Ferreira family had $30 million of stolen art in their possession before Ferreira’s apprehension. Many works, such as the Basquiat, were sold on the black market. He was convicted in Brazil for money laundering and fraud.
Missing Basquiat art reappears in NYC [Miami Herald]
U.S. Seeks Forfeiture of $8 Million Basquiat in Bank Collapse [Bloomberg]
Smuggled Basquiat Painting Found In Upper East Side Warehouse [The New York Sun]
Feds Want Bank Scammer’s Prized Art [NYPost]