Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A visitor to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art helped solve the mystery of a long-lost painting after recognizing a piece hanging in her neighbors' apartment.
The museum said a visitor to the "Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle" exhibition at the museum noticed the artworks resembled a painting she had seen in her neighbors' apartment, and her curiosity was piqued further when she read that five of the 30 panels examining early U.S. history were missing.
The woman spoke to her neighbors, an elderly couple who had purchased the painting at a friend's Christmas charity art auction in 1960.
The couple spoke to museum officials and found out the Lawrence painting hanging in their Upper West Side Manhattan apartment was indeed one of the missing panels.
The painting, Panel 16 of the series, rejoined the rest of the series for the first time in decades Wednesday when it was hung in the exhibition. The couple loaned the painting to the exhibition and gave permission for it to go on tour with the rest of the paintings when the exhibition at the Met ends Nov. 1.
"Last week a friend of mine went to the show and said, 'There's a blank spot on the wall and I believe that's where your painting belongs,'" one of the owners told The New York Times. "I felt I owed it both to the artist and the Met to allow them to show the painting."
The painting's rediscovery was welcomed by museum director Max Hollein.
"It is rare to make a discovery of this significance in modern art, and it is thrilling that a local visitor is responsible," Hollein said.