I have found some great things at flea markets over the years…
…but nothing quite like the Renoir masterpiece that a Virginia woman claims she found!
Marcia Fuqua, a driving school instructor, claims she purchased Renoir’s “On the Shore of the Sienne” at a flea market in West Virginia and had no idea it was a true Renoir. She stored the painting in a black garbage bag for several years. Once she realized it was valuable, Ms. Fuqua put the Renoir up for auction (September, 2012) but it was withdrawn by the auction house when it was discovered that the painting was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in the 1950s.
The plot thickens…Ms. Fuqua’s brother claims that their mother, a painting teacher who specialized in Renoir’s techniques, owned the painting for decades…Later, the two siblings claimed that it was an impostor who made that statement. A second auction house reports that Fuqua came to them (before the flea market story) for an appraisal of her Renoir – claiming she received it from an estate… (Read news articles here and here)
The FBI has taken over the case. Fuqua wants her painting back, but the Baltimore Museum of Art claims it belongs to them, and the insurance company that paid a claim on the Renoir says it belongs to them…
As you know…I love a good art heist! (and a good flea market!)
You may like to read my recent post, The Gardner Heist–the story of the world’s largest unsolved art heist–here.
“Listen, my children and you shall hear...” Today is the eighteenth of April-the anniversary of Paul Revere’s famous ride to warn his fellow colonists of the impending invasion by the British. Paul Revere’s ride was vividly commemorated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in a poem that many school children memorized. (I can still recite the first half!)
“Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch of the North Church tower as a signal light…One if by land and two if by sea…”
It is easy to forget that Paul Revere was a real man–not just a fictional character from Longfellow’s poem. He was a famous silversmith in the late 1700s and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts boasts the most complete tea service of Paul Revere silver!
So raise your tea-cup in honor of Paul Revere, the American colonists and our British cousins! Happy 18th of April!
You may also like: Terracotta Warriors