$1m painting found in trash


Martin says:

The Independent has this report today on New Yorker Elizabeth Gibson who found a painting in a rubbish skip in Manhattan, which turned out to be Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo's 'Three People', a painting stolen from storage years ago, and worth $1 million!

She had it hanging on her wall for months before the gallery stickers on the back of the frame led her to investigate more. The painting has now been returned to its owner who bought it as a gift for his wife in the 70s.

Gibson will get only $15,000, the original recovery offer.

From the Independent:

Four years ago, Ms Gibson spotted a 38in by 51in canvas in a skip on the city's Upper West Side and claimed it as her own. The picture – of three standing figures in blurred yellow, orange and purple – looked rather good on her living room wall. It would probably still be there if Ms Gibson's curiosity had not prompted her to try to find out more about the work. Her researches revealed not only its identity but its value – about $1m (£500,000).

A few months after finding the picture, Ms Gibson spotted Tamayo's signature in the upper right-hand corner and stickers on the back from a series of galleries – including one in New York which said it had no record of the work.

About a year later, she got the first inkling of what she had found when a friend brought her auction catalogues which showed that Tamayos were selling for $500,000. The friend also had art books, one of which had a Tamayo – her Tamayo – on its front cover. "I was stunned," she said this week.