A woman could walk away with a six-figure reward if a painting she found at a charity store in New Hampshire turns out to be the lost work of a renowned artist.
According to The New York Post, the woman, who wishes to remain unidentified, discovered the item in 2017 at Savers charity store in Manchester, New Hampshire. She had been looking for ancient frames to restore when she came across the item.
She paid the $4 buying price without thinking twice because she had no idea what the painting was worth. She hung it in her bedroom for a few years before posting it on the Facebook group “Things Found In Walls – And Other Hidden Findings.” Lauren Lewis, a conservator located in Maine, noticed the post and concluded it could be the true work of Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth.
Wyeth (1882 – 1945) was a prolific artist who created over 3,000 paintings. His most well-known works were the 25 Scribner’s illustrations for the Scribner Classics publishing firm. N.C. Wyeth was the son of artist Andrew Wyeth and the grandson of Jamie Wyeth, another well-known artist of his generation.
The work offered for auction is one of four created for the 1939 edition of Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 novel “Ramona.” According to the publication, the book is about a Scottish-Native American girl who lives in Southern California after the Mexican-American war.
The hitherto unknown picture will now be auctioned by Bonhams Skinner on September 19. The expected bidding range is $150,000 to $250,000.
“Wyeth deftly portrays the tension between Ramona and her rigid and overbearing foster mother, Señora Moreno,” the auction house wrote in the listing. Prior to this discovery, only one of the paintings from the series had been found.
The woman who found it recalled how she previously, “joked about it being a real painting.”
Lewis, the conservator who first recognized the piece for what it was, told The Boston Globe she was “99 percent certain that it was authentic.”
“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 said.