A $4 art piece purchased at a New Hampshire thrift store six years ago could land the buyer hundreds of thousands of dollars because it was created by an American art master.
In August 2017, a woman made the discovery at a Savers thrift store in Manchester, New Hampshire when she had searched for frames she could fix up and resell.
She — not having any information on the photo — purchased it for $4 and brought it home.
The artwork turned out to be a Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth creation which is set to go to auction on Sept. 19 with an estimated bidding price between $150,000 and $250,000, according to a listing from auction house Bonhams Skinner.
The artwork was part of a series of four pieces created for the 1939 edition of Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 novel “Ramona,” which follows a Scottish-Native American girl living in Southern California after the Mexican-American war.
“Wyeth deftly portrays the tension between Ramona and her rigid and overbearing foster mother, Señora Moreno” in the art piece, according to the auction house.
“Wyeth deftly portrays the tension between Ramona and her rigid and overbearing foster mother, Señora Moreno” in the art piece, according to the auction house.Bonhams Skinner
The auction house believes the frame holding the painting was chosen by Wyeth himself as its a basic molding to protect the edges and corners of his works when it traveled by train from his studio in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania to publishers in Philadelphia or New York.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Bonhams Skinner auction house she “joked about it being a real painting.” according to the Boston Globe.
The Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth creation is set to go to auction on September 19 with an estimated bidding price between $150,000 and $250,000,Smithsonian Institution
Only one other of Wyeth’s pieces for the book has been found, as this piece was most likely a gift from the book’s publishing company to an editor or the estate of the author.Wikipedia
The painting hung in the woman’s bedroom for years before it was moved to a closet and only rediscovered in May when she was cleaning her house.
The woman’s curiosity in the work of art was piqued again after re-finding it, and this time she decided to post a photo of the art piece to the Facebook page “Things Found In Walls – And Other Hidden Findings”, a group for people to share stories of the items they find hidden in obscure places.
Her post was seen by Maine conservator Lauren Lewis, who at one time ran several N.C. Wyeth shows at the Farnsworth Museum. There she began working with the Wyeth Study Center and has worked closely with the painter’s son Andrew and grandson Jamie, according to her website.
Wyeth, a Massachusetts-born artist and illustrator has over 3,000 paintings including this self-portrait from 1940.National Academy of Design
Lewis has worked with many of Wyeth’s works and decided to give the woman a consultation when she concluded she was “99 percent certain that it was authentic,” Lewis told the Boston Globe.
“My assessment of the condition was that, while it certainly had some small scratches and it could use a surface clean, it was in remarkable condition considering none of us had any idea of its journey over the last 80 years,” she added.