Lebanon Reporter

Community News Network

January 10, 2014

Judge orders flea market Renoir back to Baltimore Museum of Art

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A long-missing Renoir is headed back to the Baltimore Museum of Art, from which it had been stolen more than 60 years ago. A federal judge in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Friday ordered that the 135-year-old "On the Shore of the Seine" be returned to the museum, rejecting a Northern Virginia woman's claim that she bought it for $7 in 2009 at a West Virginia flea market, didn't know it was stolen and deserved to keep it.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema's decision abruptly ended an intriguing art drama whose unlikely main character has been Martha Fuqua, 51, a Loudoun driving instructor. In the fall of 2012, Fuqua tried auctioning off her alleged flea market discovery under the anonymous name "Renoir Girl" until records surfaced showing the painting had been stolen in 1951 from the Baltimore museum. The revelation prompted the FBI to seize the Renoir from the auction house and ask the federal court to determine ownership.

The BMA argued that, regardless of whether Fuqua found the Renoir at a flea market, no one can have legal title to stolen artwork.

Brinkema agreed in her ruling, granting summary judgment in favor of the BMA. She said the museum had overwhelming evidence that the painting had been stolen in November 1951 and that Fuqua offered not a "scintilla" of proof to the contrary.

Brinkema's decision cancels a trial that had been scheduled for next week and wipes out what could have been a useful windfall for Fuqua, who in 2009 filed for bankruptcy, citing debts of more than $400,000.

Fuqua did not show up at the hearing Friday. Reached by phone for a reaction, Fuqua seemed confused. "Reaction to what?" she asked. "I don't even know what the judge's ruling was."

Told the judge had ruled against her, Fuqua said: "Darn." Then, she added: "Well, I guess I gotta wait for my lawyer to call me." Asked if she was disappointed, she said, "Of course."

Many of Fuqua's family acquaintances have cast doubt on her flea market story, telling The Washington Post that they remember seeing the Renoir in the 1980s and 1990s at the Fairfax County home of her mother, Marcia Fouquet, who attended art college in Baltimore at the time of the painting's theft in 1951. (The mother passed away in September at the age of 85.)

Her attorney, T. Wayne Biggs, who tried persuading the judge that the museum's evidence that the painting was stolen was not properly authenticated, declined to comment after the hearing.

Marla Diaz, the BMA's attorney, said that she was "delighted" by the judge's ruling and that the museum has plans to display the piece.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

Featured items
Click below to browse and order photos


Photos from April 2014

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide