While browsing through items in a thrift store, a woman saw a painting of two women and bought it for $4.
According to information reported in The New York Post, in August 2017, Ms. Anna (temporary name) went to a Savers thrift store in Manchester, New Hampshire (USA) to look for picture frames. Old items can be repaired and resold.
A while later, she discovered a painting of two women and decided to buy it for 4 USD and take it home. Anna hung the painting in her bedroom for the first two years and then put it in the closet.
In May 2023, while cleaning the house, Anna saw the painting and decided to post about it on the Facebook page “Things Found In Walls – And Other Hidden Discoveries” (Things Found In Walls – And Other Hidden Findings), a group for people to share stories about items they have found hidden in obscure places.
Not long after, her post was seen by Maine Lauren Lewis, who had curated several exhibitions of paintings by American art master Newell Convers Wyeth at the Farnsworth Museum. Lewis had been exposed to many works by artist Wyeth and decided to advise the woman when she concluded that she was “99% sure it was a real painting”.
Maine’s Lauren Lewis added: “My assessment of this painting is that although it has some minor scratches, it is in remarkable condition as none of us know of its journey over the past 80 years.”
On September 19, the artwork was auctioned at an estimated starting price of 150,000 to 250,000 USD. It is known that this artwork is part of four works created for the 1939 edition of the 1884 novel “Ramona” written by writer Helen Hunt Jackson. The novel is about a Scottish-American girl living in Southern California.
According to auction house Bonhams Skinner, artist Wyeth skillfully depicted the tension between Ramona and her tough, overbearing adoptive mother, Señora Moreno, in his artwork.
The auction house claims that Wyeth chose the painting’s frame as a base to protect the edges and corners of the work as it was transported by train from his studio in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, to the publishers in Philadelphia or New York.
Massachusetts-born illustrator Newell Convers Wyeth, who owns more than 3,000 illustrations, is famous “for his ability to add drama and develop characters through his work.”