A woman from the U.S. state of Virginia bought a possible Renoir painting at a U.S. flea market at a price worth many times less than its pre-auction estimate, the Art Daily said.
Various sources give different prices, ranging from $7 to $50, at which the woman bought the Paysage Bords de Seine pastel, which art dealers attribute to Renoir. The artwork, which is to go under hammer on September 29-30, has a pre-auction estimate price of $75,000-$100,000.
"A Shenandoah Valley woman was out enjoying a weekend day at a flea market and purchased a box of miscellaneous items. What had actually caught her eye in the box wasn't the valuable Renoir but a plastic cow and a Paul Bunyan doll,” said Elizabeth Haynie Wainstein, the auction house owner.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had stored the rest of the box's contents first in a white plastic bag in a shed, later in her car's trunk and eventually in her kitchen.
She said that she wanted to remove the picture from the frame and throw it away when her mother advised her to show the picture to an expert first.
The auction house’s fine arts specialist, Anne Norton Craner, said the painting had been last purchased in 1926 from the Gallerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris by one of the preeminent dealers of Renoir's work, international lawyer Herbert L. May. The painting's trail was since lost.