Miracles do happen. It was recently confirmed by a lover of art who bought a painting because he liked the frame and stored it in his attic and then has discovered that it might be the work of renowned painter Paul Cezanne, and could be worth £40 million.
The man, who does not want to be identified, but lives in Northampton, bought it from a picture shop because he liked the frame and paid £100. He said it appeared to have the date 1854 marked on it. He realised it could be something special when he matched some of its brush strokes and signature markings in a book on post-impressionism.
He said: I bought it at an old picture shop because I liked the frame. But the painting was curled up so tight with easily 50 years of dirt on it. It wasn’t until I was reading an art book that I started to compare it to Cezanne and then I carefully unravelled it so I could see the markings.
The 1.24m by 98cm (4ft by 3ft) work depicts a small riverside house with an orange roof surrounded by trees. If authentic, it will be the earliest known work by the post-impressionist artist who would have been a 15-year-old art pupil at the time. Now the man is enduring an agonising wait to learn whether his find is actually a masterpiece by the French artist Cezanne – and worth £40 million.
He took it to auction house Wilfords of Wellingborough on Monday. Owner Tim Conrad said: When people come in and say they’ve got a Cezanne, you tend to think, “Of course you do”, but when I saw the brushwork on this painting, I knew it was very skilful. These things only turn up when somebody has bothered to research them, he said. The strokes certainly look like Cezanne and it was usual for him to use a variety of signature styles. The odds are probably against him, but if he’s right then it would fetch £40million easily.
The painting will be taken to the National Gallery for assessment and testing.
Cezanne’s 1893 painting Still Life With Curtain, Pitcher And Bowl Of Fruit is one of the ten most expensive paintings ever sold, going for £38 million in 1999.