Judge to Determine Fate of Renoir Stolen in 1951

FBI seized painting after a Virginia woman tried to put it up for auction last fall

Friday, Apr 5, 2013  |  Updated 8:41 PM EDT
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The FBI is now investigating the discovery of a Renoir painting in a Virginia flea market. News4's Derrick Ward reports.

Derrick Ward

The FBI is now investigating the discovery of a Renoir painting in a Virginia flea market. News4's Derrick Ward reports.

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Renoir Found at Virginia Flea Market

A Virginia woman is living the dream of all collectors: A painting she bought at a flea market turns out to be the work of the impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
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The woman who says she bought an authentic Renoir painting at a flea market is no longer anonymous.

According to the Washington Post, her name is Marcia Fuqua -- and her mother is an art expert.

The Post reports that Fuqua, who lives in Loudoun County, is now in a legal battle to get the painting back after the FBI seized it when she tried to put it up for auction last fall.

The reason: It had apparently been stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art back in 1951.

Fuqua said she bought the painting, Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Paysage Bords de Seine," for $7 at a flea market in July 2012.

After it was appraised at $75,000 to $100,000, she made arrangements to have it sold through an auction to be conducted by the Potomack Company. The auction house announced shortly before the sale that it was pulling the painting from its listings after a Washington Post reporter uncovered its history.

The FBI took control of it after that.

The Post reports:

[Fuqua's] mother -- who goes by the professional name Marcia Fouquet in homage to a French ancestor -- is a painter who specialized in reproducing the pieces of several famous artists, including Renoir, according to an online biography and people who used to work at her art studio.

Fouquet, 84, has artistic roots in Baltimore. She graduated from Goucher College with a fine arts degree in 1952 and earned a master’s degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1957. In her thesis, she briefly analyzes a Renoir portrait.

A federal judge will now determine the painting's owner.

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