Beth Feeback is an artist and was trying to sell her artwork at an art show in Oak Ridge, N.C. this past April. She found it was a bit cold and stopped in a local Goodwill store to pick up a blanket.
"It was so cold for it to be April 28," said Feeback, reported WCNC
, "So I went into a Goodwill to get a blanket. I thought, 'I have to look around. It's Goodwill. You can't leave without doing that.'"
Feeback noticed two large paintings with a tag of $9.99 each. Not being fond of the artwork style itself, she saw the price of the paintings was cheaper than it would be to buy new canvasses of that size.
So, she purchased both paintings with the intention to create her own art over the original artwork. The artwork sat in her house untouched until June.
According to WCNC, it was one of Feeback's friends that urged her to research the history of the paintings before she re-purposed the canvas.
The paintings did have identifiers on them. They were both labeled "Weatherspoon Art Gallery", and one of the names was "Ilya Bolotowsky", so she did a little bit of Internet research.
"There's a southern expression. I nearly bleeped and fell back in it. I was over the moon," said Feeback. "Bolotowsky was a big deal. Some of his paintings went for $30,000."
What she learned was Bolotowsky, an abstract painter, who had fled Russia in the early 20th century and settled in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1923. The well-known artist had died in 1981.
Many of Bolotowsky's works
are displayed in museums and galleries throughout the U.S. This page
has examples of his work.
The one in Feeback's possession was titled "Vertical Diamond" and, after having it appraised, she learned her thrift store treasure was valued between $15,000 and $20,000, reported Good Morning America (courtesy Yahoo!
Another example that illuminates you never know what treasures you might find in Goodwill or another thrift store. In March, Digital Journal reported a man bought a $3 painting
that turned out to be worth $190,000.
Sotheby's has the painting slated for auction on Sept. 21.