French newspapers are reporting that a man from Lyon may have found a genuine painting by Renoir on the internet.
Ahmed Ziani, an unemployed mechanic and art enthusiast, paid $700 for a painting he found on the site Le Bon Coin, believing it to be an unsigned work by the 18th-century artist Claude Joseph Vernet. However, when the painting arrived at his house, his 11 year old son spotted that it had a faint signature and date: “A. Renoir 1864”.
After doing further research, Ziani discovered that the oil painting might in fact be a long lost early work by the French impressionist Pierre-August Renoir. His investigations suggest that the work is called Soir d’Eté, which was last seen when it was exhibited in Paris in 1865. France’s National Art Institute lists the work, painted when Renoir was just 23, as missing.
Experts are currently examining the canvas to determine whether it is indeed authentic, a process which could take months. If they do decide that it is by Renoir, it could prove to be a very lucrative find. The artist’s auction record currently stands at just over $78 million.