Flea-market Renoir Allegedly Was Stolen From Baltimore Museum; Auction Canceled

By Ian Shapira, (The Washington Post, 9/27/2012)

The lore of the landscape was as irresistible to its owner as its beautiful brush strokes: Renoir had painted it, Baltimore collector Saidie May said, for his mistress on a linen napkin at a Paris restaurant along the Seine.

So how did the small painting wind up in a $7 box of junk at a West Virginia flea market more than eight decades after May’s ex-husband, Herbert L. May, purchased “On the Shore of the Seine” from a Paris gallery in 1926?

The mystery, which generated headlines this month when an Alexandria auction house announced that it would sell what it believes is that Renoir, became clearer this week when a Washington Post reporter entered the library at the Baltimore Museum of Art. In a box full of Saidie May’s letters and artwork receipts lay one major clue: records showing that she had lent the painting to the museum in 1937. The discovery startled museum officials, who had already said the flea-market Renoir never entered their institution.

Continue reading “Flea-market Renoir Allegedly Was Stolen From Baltimore Museum; Auction Canceled” at The Washington Post.

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