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Virginia woman must return Renoir painting she bought at a flea market for $7

Posted by on Jan. 12, 2014 at 8:52 PM
  • 53 Replies
"Finders keepers" apparently doesn't apply to stolen art, according to one judge. A woman from Virginia was ordered to return a stolen Renoir painting she purchased for just $7.

According to a U.S. District Court ruling, a Renoir painting that was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1951 and recently bought at a flea market still belongs to the museum. Judge Leonie M. Brinkema's decision yesterday afternoon ended a long saga over the napkin-sized painting.

If you believe the legend, "Landscape on the Banks of the Seine" was originally painted by Pierre-Auguste Renoir as a gift for his mistress 135 years ago. The painting was sold twice before it was loaned to the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1937 by a collector named Saidie May. Fourteen years later, the oil-on-linen was reported stolen by the museum.

"The reported theft occurred shortly after May's death, and the painting had not yet been formally accepted into the museum's collection, which is why museum officials did not initially realize it had been there," BMA director Doreen Bolger saidlast year, explaining how the painting never ended up on a registry of stolen art.

For nearly 60 years, there had been no news about the painting until a Virginia woman reportedly found it at a West Virginia flea market in 2009, where she promptly bought it. For $7. A few years later, she brought the painting to an auction house in Virginia to have it appraised. Shortly after, it was determined that the painting was real and would be put up for auction.

The Renoir was expected to fetch at least $75,000, but the auction was canceled after the painting was traced back to the Baltimore Museum of Art. The museum wanted the piece back and the new owner, understandably, believed that it now belonged to her. Prior to yesterday's ruling, the Baltimore Museum of Art said it would hope to put the painting on display again. Now that the decision has been reached, at least the woman won't have to travel too far to see it, right?
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by on Jan. 12, 2014 at 8:52 PM
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AlekD
by Gold Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 8:56 PM

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:01 PM
6 moms liked this

Yep...that's how it works in the art world. You can't keep stolen art regardless of how you obtained it.

These laws came into affect because of Hitler's tendency to steal art and the need to return this to the families of the original owners, even generations after their deaths and even if the artwork has gone through several "legit" sales. It goes back to the owner from whom the work was originally stolen.

There is a LOT of court case law supporting returning stolen art to its last lawful owner and all major artworks come with a very detailed public sales/owner record.

Had the artwork not been stolen, but just forgotten, say in someone's attic then sold at a rummage sale or flea market, then finder's keepers!

National Woman's Party


yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:31 PM
2 moms liked this

 I can understand the ruling.  I do feel kind of sorry for the lady though...especially in light of the fact that the museum didn't even realize it was missing for so long.

 

coolmommy2x
by Gold Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:38 PM
I totally agree with the ruling.
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Christy1919
by on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:41 PM
4 moms liked this
Did the museum return the insurance money it received for the original theft
Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:48 PM
Beautiful!

Quoting AlekD:

Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:50 PM
1 mom liked this
At least she only paid $7!

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 I can understand the ruling.  I do feel kind of sorry for the lady though...especially in light of the fact that the museum didn't even realize it was missing for so long.


 

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:55 PM

 

Quoting Bookwormy: At least she only paid $7!

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 I can understand the ruling.  I do feel kind of sorry for the lady though...especially in light of the fact that the museum didn't even realize it was missing for so long.


 

 

That is true.  

You know, I was wondering about the insurance money.  Surely, it was received.  I wonder if it will have to be paid back?

 

MeAndTommyLee
by Platinum Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:57 PM
1 mom liked this

I agree.  When she found out it was stolen she should have sucked it up minus the fuss.  

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Jan. 12, 2014 at 9:57 PM

Interesting question...If a claim is filed for stolen property, then the property is return, is the claim then returned to the insurance company? I would think maybe so.....

Quoting Christy1919: Did the museum return the insurance money it received for the original theft


National Woman's Party


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