Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A painting that experts are almost positive is an undiscovered Eduoard Manet has been sold for peanuts – because the people who owned it could not afford the cost of having the work of art officially certified.
Frenchman Edouard Manet who died in 1883 at the age of 51 was a French modernist painter regarded as one of the first 19th-century painters to focus on modern life and played a key role in the move from Realism to Impressionism.
His paintings fetch vast sums such as Le Printemps that sold to the J Paul Getty Museum for over 65 million USD (50.1 million GBP), and Self-Portrait With Palette which sold for 33.2 million USD (25.6 GBP) at Sotheby’s in 2010.
The latest picture which includes the artist signature shows the profile of a woman with jet-black curly hair and a pale complexion, and if confirmed to be genuine would make it the only work in Poland from Manet.
In order for the painting to be recognised, it would need to be sent to French experts to be evaluated, a costly and lengthy process which the owners said they simply could not afford.
Instead of opting to have it valued and potentially collect up to 10 million EUR (8.4 Million GBP) they went ahead with the auction and it sold for 160,000 PLN (31,708 GBP). They had taken it to antique shop owner Jacek Bukowski where it was then provisionally identified as a Manet subject to confirmation by the experts in French paintings.
What is known of its history indicates that it was bought Poland by a soldier after World War II, said he had been given it by an Italian whose life he saved. The soldier passed on his granddaughter, who had no idea of the paintings potential value and who kept it in a wardrobe.
With the sale now completed, it just requires the new owner who is also reportedly Polish to test the authenticity.
The antique shop owner stated: “The money has already been transferred If he changes his mind, four more people are waiting in line. If the new owner manages to confirm the authenticity of the portrait in Paris, the value of the work will rise to several million.”
The experts in Poland that have looked at it so far include Ewa Komuszynska-Nagorska, who works for the Ministry of Culture and Art and who not only said it was genuine.
There are known to be around 400 paintings by the artist in existence.
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