Auction house the Potomack Company is withdrawing a painting by Impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir that was scheduled for sale this weekend after questions arose surrounding the ownership of the painting.
“Potomack is relieved this came to light in a timely manner as we do not want to sell any item without clear title,” said Potomack owner Elizabeth Wainstein.
A consignor brought the painting to the Old Town establishment on July 27 after purchasing it at a flea market and a fine art specialist confirmed it was Renoir’s “Paysage Bords de Seine.”
Representatives of Potomack Company said the painting appeared auctionable after checking the FBI’s art theft website and another service that tracks missing and stolen works of art.
However, a Washington Post reporter did further investigative work, prompting the Baltimore Museum of Art to believe that the painting was stolen from the museum in 1951.
A federal investigation is currently underway.