Category Archive 'Renoir'

28 Sep 2012

Flea Market Renoir Sale Canceled Indefinitely

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paysage Bords de Seine [Landscape Banks of the Seine], c.1879

The Washington Post apparently did a little investigating of its own, and found that the Flea-Market-find Renoir about to be auctioned tomorrow at Potomack Galleries in Alexandria belonged to a Baltimore Museum and had been stolen in 1951.

[A] Washington Post reporter entered the library at the Baltimore Museum of Art. In a box full of Saidie May’s letters and artwork receipts lay one major clue: records showing that she had lent the painting to the museum in 1937. The discovery startled museum officials, who had already said the flea-market Renoir never entered their institution.

But armed with the loan registration number, museum officials dug up in their collection records an even-more-astounding clue about the Renoir’s journey. An old museum loan registration document revealed that the tiny landscape, measuring 51 / 2 by 9 inches, was stolen Nov. 17, 1951, from the BMA — shortly after May’s death.

Now the painting’s highly anticipated auction by the Potomack Company has been canceled. The FBI is investigating, and museum officials are trying to learn more about the painting’s theft. They couldn’t explain why it does not appear on a worldwide registry of stolen and lost art.


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