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 Fuqua put the Renoir up for auction (September, 2012) but it was withdrawn by the auction house when it was discovered that the painting was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in the 1950s.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.