A lost painting worth more than a million dollars that went missing for six weeks has turned up – hanging on the bathroom wall of a New York doorman.
The man claimed he had found the picture, entitled Portrait of a Girl by the 19th-century French painterJean-Baptiste Camille Corot, an important figure mostly known for printmaking and landscapes, in some bushes outside the Fifth Avenue nightspot where he works.
He says that he took it home, hung it in the bathroom, and forgot about it – until friends suggested it might be valuable and he started to research its history. At that point he handed it over to the police.
That’s when its chequered journey – at the centre of a legal battle and a criminal investigation by the FBI – came fully to light. The New York Post has the story:
Doorman delivers lost art
When friends gazed at the impressive addition to Puentes’ gallery, they told him it appeared pretty valuable, sources said.
He researched it and last Sunday discovered that it was at the center of a legal storm that included a lawsuit and federal criminal charges.
He brought it that day to the 19th Precinct station house and turned it over to surprised cops.
The FBI, which had charged one of its co-owners with fraud, soon showed up and took possession of the artwork.
Authorities are investigating Puentes’ tale and have not charged him. Read the full story here…
Various people with an interest in law enforcement are now trying to decide whether the tangled tale of the painting’s disappearance and rediscovery adds up.
But the moral of this tale is that, should a lovely piece of art come into your hands, please hang it in slightly more suitable conditions…