Thrift shops, flea markets and museum storage seem to be perennial sources for discovering lost works of art and last week’s news of a Renoir found in at swap meet and nearly discarded a second time will only drive more pickers out into the wilds with dreams of discarded treasure. With that in mind, The New York Times provides a little speculation on how the Renoir was lost in the first place:
The Potomack Company, based in Alexandria, Va., is scheduled to auction off the small pastel-colored painting it believes is Renoir’s “Paysage Bords de Seine” on Sept. 29, and has valued it between $75,000 and $100,000. Anne Norton Craner, Potomack’s fine arts specialist and a former research associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said she researched the 5.5-by-9-inch river scene and is convinced that Renoir painted it. […]
Ms. Craner, who said the image is included in the catalogue raisonné, the definitive compilation of an artist’s work, looked up the cataloged work and learned it was purchased from the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in France in 1925 and later sold to Herbert May, the husband of Sadie A. May, a well-known collector in Maryland who donated many works to the Baltimore Museum of Art. The painting has what seems to be the gallery’s sticker on the back with a stock number, Ms. Craner said. She does not know how this Renoir might have found its way from the Mays’s collection to a box of junk at a Shenandoah Valley flea market.
A Possible Renoir Surfaces at a Virginia Flea Market (New York Times)