An Italian worker with great taste in art bought two canvases he liked without knowing much about the works at lost-property auction. He held on to the paintings for 40 years out of sheer love and attachment only to discover quite recently that the paintings were buy Gauguin and Bonnard:
stolen from a collector’s London home in 1970 and left on a train in Italy, with no indication of origin. At a lost-property auction in 1975, the unsuspecting Fiat worker paid 45,000 Italian lire (23 euros; £19) for them. He hung them in his Turin home before taking them to Sicily when he retired. The worker only grew suspicious about their origins when his son saw another Gauguin in a book and noticed similarities with the painting in his father’s kitchen. The man consulted experts and police were eventually alerted.
The Gauguin painting, titled Fruits sur une table ou nature au petit chien (Fruits on a table or still life with a small dog), had been painted in 1889 and was thought to be worth between 10m and 30m euros (£8.3m-£24.8m), police said. The Bonnard, La femme aux deux fauteuils (Woman with two armchairs), is valued at 600,000 euros (£500,000).