Baltimore museum has strong case in Renoir theft

WASHINGTON (AP) - An expert on art thefts says the Baltimore Museum of Art likely has a strong case to reclaim a Renoir painting that was stolen in 1951 and turned up recently at a West Virginia flea market.

Former FBI investigator Robert Wittman says the painting’s dimensions and composition are key in matching it to a stolen piece.

A woman bought the painting for $7 at the flea market and it was expected to fetch $75,000 at a now-postponed auction.

Museum officials were combing through paper records Friday to learn more about the theft nearly 61 years ago. So far, they have found a record documenting the painting was on loan from art patron Saidie A. May.

It’s the only record they’ve found of the painting being stolen while on exhibition.

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