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Renoir bought for $7 at W. Virginia flea market ordered returned to museum

Published on Jan 11, 2014 6:30 AM
Matt Fuqua, brother of Martha Fuqua, speaks to the media outside of the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia on Jan 10, 2014. A Renoir painting bought for $7 at a flea market must be returned to the Baltimore Museum of Art it was stolen from in 1951, a federal judge ordered on Friday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia, (REUTERS) - A napkin-size Renoir painting bought for US$7 (S$8.86) at a flea market but valued at up to US$100,000 must be returned to the museum it was stolen from in 1951, a federal judge ordered on Friday. 

The 1879 Impressionist painting Paysage Bords de Seine, dashed off for his mistress by Pierre-Auguste Renoir at a riverside restaurant, has been at the centre of a legal tug-of-war between Ms Marcia "Martha" Fuqua, a former physical education teacher from Lovettsville, Virginia, and the Baltimore Museum of Art in Maryland.

Judge Leonie Brinkema, in a hearing in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, dismissed Ms Fuqua's claim of ownership, noting that a property title cannot be transferred if it resulted from a theft.

"The museum has put forth an extensive amount of documentary evidence that the painting was stolen," Judge Brinkema said, citing a 1951 police report and museum records.

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