The works then disappeared for thirty years, only reappearing when Mumford didn’t pay his bills, and his storage unit was auctioned off. The buyer, William Force, bought the lot for $15,000. But there were many doubts about the authenticity of these works. Why would Basquiat sell these without his dealer? How could they just go missing for thirty years? In a statement to the NYTimes, Larry Gagosian found the scenario “highly unlikely” and soon his concerns were echoed by other curators and Basquiat scholars. But the OMA held strong, with the director Aaron De Groft saying, “My reputation is at stake as well,” and “I’ve absolutely no doubt these are Basquiats.”
But there was no official verdict that could be given; the Basquiat estate closed its authentication committee in 2012, after a lawsuit over other questionably authentic works.