Politics & Government

June 3, 2013

‘Flea market’ Renoir leads to colorful, continuing mystery

It began as an irresistible story: a flea market find in the West Virginia panhandle of a tiny, long-forgotten painting by a French master. Since the announcement last September that the painting, bought in a $7 box of knickknacks, was being put up for auction, a mystery has unfolded with an assortment of characters – a dowager art collector, perplexed museum officials, the insistent buyer and the FBI – and the eventual seizure of the artwork, which turned out to be stolen. Now it’s up to a federal judge to decide who owns the painting, as questions arise over whether there was ever a flea market find at all.

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