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Auction of ‘stolen’ Renoir cancelled

One of the highlights of the week in the art circle was the cancellation of a Renoir painting form being auctioned off at the Potomack Co, a Virginia auction house. The painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir entitled ‘Paysage Bords de Seine’ was supposed to be auctioned by the auction house in Alexandria but was halted after there were signs that showed that it was a stolen painting from the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The Renoir painting was reportedly bought at a flea market for US$7 or merely RM22 and after questions of its ownership was raised; the item was stopped from going under the hammer. It was possible that this painting was stolen decades ago and according to Lucia Holland, a spokeswoman for the auction house, only the Renoir was withdrawn while the other items will be sold off as expected.

It was reported that the painting was bought by a local woman about 2 years ago and she only wanted the frame but had no idea about the French Impressionist artwork. During one of her housecleaning exercise, she came across the painting and when she had it appraised by Potomack, it was verified and validated to be a genuine Renoir painting and was worth between US$75,000 to US$100,000.

The painting means ‘Landscape on the Banks of the Seine’ and it was then indicated that records in Baltimore Museum of Art that it was stolen when it loaned the painting in 1951. However, there has not been any police report records of the theft while FBI and a federal investigation is currently taking place.

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