A masterpiece by Paul Gauguin and a lesser work by Pierre Bonnard that hung in an autoworker’s kitchen for over 40 years after they were stolen were unveiled in a Rome art museum.
The two paintings were ceremoniously presented Wednesday after they were believed to have been stolen from a London collector’s home in 1970, left on a train and later bought for $30 at a 1975 auction by a Fiat factory worker.
The unidentified autoworker hung them in the kitchen of his house in Sicily after his retirement, and notified authorities after a relative noted similarities with another Gauguin work.
The Gauguin painting, “Fruit on a Table or Still Life With Puppy,” is valued at between $14 million and $41 million. The Bonnard work, “Woman on Two Armchairs,” has an estimated value of $827,000.
The ownership of the art works remains unclear. The reported owner, Terrence Kennedy, has died, and is believed to have left no heirs.
The theft was carried out by three people posing a police and burglar alarm engineers, a UPI story from 1970 said.
[Los Angeles Times] [La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno]