EXCLUSIVEKeith Haring's artwork is among the most recognizable of the 20th century -- but the authenticity of roughly 80 paintings has been called into question ... and now, a group of art dealers is suing for $40 MILLION, claiming it's being falsely accused of peddling fakes.
The Miami-based dealers are suing the Keith Haring Foundation after it accused them of selling bogus Harings at an exhibit in March last year called "Haring Miami."
Days after the exhibit opened, the Haring Foundation sued the dealers, seeking to block the exhibit. The Foundation claimed the vast majority of the 80+ paintings in it were counterfeit.
The "Haring Miami" organizers subsequently pulled all but 8 pieces of art from the exhibit.
Now the dealers who supplied the artworks are pissed, insisting ALL of them are the genuine work of Keith Haring -- who passed away from AIDS in 1990 -- and they're worth between $500,000 and $1 million a piece.
They're suing for defamation, claiming the Foundation's lawsuit not only cost them more than $40 million in sales -- it destroyed their rep in the art world -- and they want payback.