Based on a recent report published by the Associated Press, a woman in West Virginia paid only $7 for a genuine Renoir painting. The impressionist artwork was acquired during a flea market together with a box of trinkets.
Flea market customers secretly hope to purchase a valuable product in exchange of a small sum of money, but this rarely happens. A woman in West Virginia was the lucky buyer of a genuine painting signed by French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. She kept the valuable piece of art in her basement for two years when she accidentally discovered that the painting was worth a fortune.
The woman, who chose to remain anonymous for security reasons, told the press that she decided to discard the 7$ painting and save its frame because she considered it interesting. She agreed to have the painting evaluated by the Potomack Co auction house in Alexandria, Virginia because she wanted to make sure she could threw it away.
As soon as she removed it from the garbage bag, fine arts director Anne Norton Craner expressed her belief that the illustration was one of Renoir’s lost paintings. In addition to the “Renoir” front inscription, the woman recognized the French artist’s style. She checked the label and number that was written on the back of the painting and discovered it was mentioned in the catalog of the French gallery Bernheim-Jeune. Moreover, a black-and-white image of the painting was also published in the catalog.
Craner is convinced that the image is a true work of art because Renoir’s paintings are usually difficult to fake. “If you’re going to fake something, you would fake something easier,” the fine arts director explained.
The flea market treasure was identified as Renoir’s Paysage Bords de Seine, that is, Banks of the River Seine in English. According to Craner’s measurements, the painting dates back to about 1879 and measures 15cm by 25cm. The piece of art will be auctioned on September 29 and the owner could sell it for $75,000.