Antiques shop owner discovers beach painting bought from London flea market was once stolen from a Mayfair art gallery and is a rare work by French artist Eugene Boudin whose work has sold for £1.5MILLION
- Old Bank Antiques boss said a lady sold him the ‘Trouville – Scene de Plage’ piece
- She told him that her father bought painting from a flea market several years ago
- But Jon White has since discovered artwork was snatched from a gallery in 1990
- He is now appealing to anyone who can help to trace previous legitimate owner
An antiques shop owner has discovered a beach painting bought from a flea market was once stolen from an art gallery and is a rare work by the French artist Eugene Boudin – whose work has sold for £1.5million.
Old Bank Antiques boss Jon White said a lady sold him the painting alongside other items from her late father’s estate.
She told him that her father had bought the ‘Trouville – Scene de Plage’ piece from a flea market in London several years ago.
But Mr White, from Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, has since found out the painting was snatched in May 1990 from a museum in Mayfair.
Boudin’s work has previously sold for upwards of £1.5million. The shop owner is now trying to discover who owned the piece originally.
Old Bank Antiques boss Jon White (pictured above with the stolen artwork), from Wiltshire, said a lady sold him the painting alongside other items from her late father’s estate
Mr White said: ‘The signed picture looked special and I felt it was worth doing some research on it.
‘Clearly we wanted to offer the customer a fair price so needed to spend some time finding out a little more about it and the artist who created it.’
He started his research by contacting the Richard Green Gallery in Mayfair which was the last legitimate business known to have handled the painting.
He added: ‘It was here that I was told that this painting had been subject to an insurance claim and I needed to seek further details.’
Mr White then contacted the Art Loss Register – the world’s largest private database of stolen art, antiques and collectibles.
If a painting is registered as stolen and this is not resolved satisfactorily, then a ‘block’ is put upon the work which cannot then be re-sold.
The database revealed that on May 8, 1990, someone walked out of a gallery in Mayfair with the painting, saying it had not been seen since.
An insurance claim was made and a reward for £40,000 was put up in June 1990, though it’s unclear if that reward was ever claimed.
Today the Art Loss Register has been unable to trace the company which paid out on that insurance claim.
Mr White said: ‘It’s clear our customer’s father bought this picture in good faith.
Old Bank Antiques (pictured above) is a small antiques centre selling portable antiques including jewellery, silver flatware, coins, toys and collectibles
‘I’m appealing to anyone who can help to trace the previous legitimate owner, or trace the insurance company so that we can return the painting and resolve this for all concerned.’
The painting is typical of Boudin’s work because he specialised in oil paintings of landscapes, especially harbours and beaches in Northern France.
Boudin was born in Honfleur, brought up around Le Havre and then later studied at the Louvre.
He became well known for his small landscape paintings in oils and also worked alongside Claude-Oscar Monet later in his career.
Old Bank Antiques is a small centre selling portable antiques including jewellery, silver flatware, coins, toys and collectibles.
The business will expand to make an auction house next door which is set to open for its first sale in mid 2022.
Anyone with information about the stolen painting and its mystery owner is asked to email Jon on [email protected]