WASHINGTON (AP) — An expert on art thefts says the Baltimore Museum of Art likely has a strong case to reclaim a Renoir painting that was stolen in 1951 and turned up recently at a West Virginia flea market.
Former FBI investigator Robert Wittman says the painting’s dimensions and composition are key in matching it to a stolen piece.
A woman bought the painting for $7 at the flea market and it was expected to fetch $75,000 at a now-postponed auction.
Museum officials were combing through paper records Friday to learn more about the theft nearly 61 years ago. So far, they have found a record documenting the painting was on loan from art patron Saidie A. May.
It’s the only record they’ve found of the painting being stolen while on exhibition.