CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Even though the Renoir painting bought for $7 at a Harpers Ferry flea market is possibly stolen it still brought more visitors to market.
Ron Nowell, co-owner of the Harpers Ferry Flea Market on U.S. 340, said the art selection was picked clean days after news broke earlier this month.
"Evidently everyone's interested in Renoir now," Nowell said. "My two days on the market last week I walked through and about 75 percent of the paintings were gone.
"People expecting lightning to strike twice, I guess, but that was a one in a million."
A Virginia woman, who remains anonymous, bought the painting two years ago in a box of junk at Nowell's market. She liked a plastic cow in the box and the heavy frame surrounding the colorful impressionist painting. Even though a plaque on the frame said "Renoir" the woman thought it was a fake.
She handed over the $7 for the box and chucked it into a shed until this year when she ran into trouble trying to get the painting out of the frame. She took it to Potomack, an auction house in Alexandria, Va., for help with the painting.
It was there, according to the Washington Post, the painting was found not to be a fake, but the bona fide work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
The painting titled "Paysage Bords de Seine," featuring swirling pink and purple flowers on the banks of the Seine River was to be put up for auction this weekend. Appraisers expected it would bring in more than $100,000.