The artwork contains the signatures of Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, who are the administrators of the artist's Estate. The Undiscovered Genius was painted in Basquiat's classic style that involved strange scribbling with symbols, words and diagrams. Images, colours and texts saturated the canvas from one corner to the other. The subjects in this drawing embraced classical themes and contemporary champions that originated from his Caribbean background. The title itself hinted at the artist's journey of rising to fame amidst harsh times in the history of the United States.
The symbols and phrases in the Undiscovered Genius narrated an African-American story. The iconic visuals were very poetic in communicating racism and inequality while criticising colonialism amongst other political injustices. Basquiat moved flawlessly across various topics and subjects in this artwork. Some sections focused on collective history, personal history and memories. He broke all rules of history painting genres by including his personal matters amid a history artwork.
Basquiat had a musical background as he was a musician and a DJ. This side of him is seen in the auditory quality of the painting as he effortlessly incorporates music to bring out musical inspirations in the artwork. A musical rhythm is felt as he repeats various words like Mark Twain and Negroes to emphasise specific subjects.
Basquiat used the words Mississippi and Negroes in this painting to hammer out the traumatising history of racism and slavery in the United States. Black heroic figures could also be seen all over the painting as Basquiat used them to bring out the aspect of independence and strength amongst the blacks in America. He presents himself as a static symbol in the historical narration. When creating this masterpiece, the artist made it clear that his mind was not focused on the painting job but instead, he let himself think about life.
This painting has been compared repeatedly by different artists to another History painting by Picasso, Guernica. Both artists have employed primitivism to act as an antidote to the conservative art world. Basquiat was able to combine his ideas, personality and memories in one painting, creating a masterpiece that shall speak to many generations. This painting redefined the style of History painting in many different ways.