The unnamed woman bought a box of random items, including the painting by French master Pierre-Auguste Renoir, for $US50 in the US state of Virginia.
Her mother later convinced her to take it to a local auction house after noticing Renoir's faded signature on the back.
The director of the Potomack auction house, Anne Craner, says she took one look at the painting and knew it was the work of the French master.
Art Daily has a great enlarged picture of the new Renoir
and some added background to this incredible find.
The painting is in a classic ornate gold frame, with a plaque saying simply “Renoir” with his years of birth and death. It does look like a typical mounted print very common in the 20th century, particularly with the almost rococo frame. Prints, however, aren’t signed on the back and don’t have original paint on them.
This particular Renoir is pretty spectacular, even by the standards of an artist famous for his use of color. This new find is an unusual style for the very accurate, extremely precise, Renoir. It’s a landscape/picnic scene in his truly vibrant style, and it looks as if the true Impressionist values are being enforced vigorously with high dynamic brush work and some really beautiful color mixes.The execution of the brushwork is different, and the very dramatic strokes are a combination of sketch and light plays.
As an unknown Renoir with a unique style, the real value of this painting is hard to tell. That $100,000 would be a reasonable ballpark figure, but if the quality of the painting is any guide, it could sell for a lot more if it’s discovered by a real aficionado.
Compare the style of the new Renoir with one of his more famous pictures:
As you can see, the new discovery is a very different brush style, and the use of the light is more a la Turner than a typical Renoir, although it has obvious Renoir hallmarks.