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Last updated: February 17. 2013 4:15AM - 33 Views

This undated image provided by the Potomack Company shows an apparently original painting by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir that was acquired by a woman from Virginia who stopped at a flea market in West Virginia and paid $7 for a box of trinkets that included the painting. An auction house has put on hold the sale of a painting believed to be by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir that a woman bought at a West Virginia flea market because a reporter found evidence someone stole the painting from the Baltimore Museum of Art.  A Washington Post reporter discovered documents in the museum
This undated image provided by the Potomack Company shows an apparently original painting by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir that was acquired by a woman from Virginia who stopped at a flea market in West Virginia and paid $7 for a box of trinkets that included the painting. An auction house has put on hold the sale of a painting believed to be by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir that a woman bought at a West Virginia flea market because a reporter found evidence someone stole the painting from the Baltimore Museum of Art. A Washington Post reporter discovered documents in the museum
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(AP) An expert on art thefts says the Baltimore Museum of Art likely has a strong case to reclaim a Renoir painting that was stolen in 1951 and turned up recently at a West Virginia flea market.


Former FBI investigator Robert Wittman says the painting's dimensions and composition are key in matching it to a stolen piece.


A woman bought the painting for $7 at the flea market and it was expected to fetch $75,000 at a now-postponed auction.


Museum officials were combing through paper records Friday to learn more about the theft nearly 61 years ago. So far, they have found a record documenting the painting was on loan from art patron Saidie A. May.


It's the only record they've found of the painting being stolen while on exhibition.


Associated Press
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