Art on Sunday #23
See the ABC video, below, for the story of a long-lost painting discovered by an art historian watching a movie.
In 2009, art historian Gergely Barki was watching the 1999 film adaptation of E.B. White’s classic 1945 children’s book Stuart Little with his daughter Lola when he noticed something that thoroughly startled him. Hanging over the mantle of the protagonist’s apartment in the film was the long lost painting Sleeping Lady With a Black Vase by Hungarian painter Róbert Berény.
While someone with less knowledge of the painting might assume that it was a reprint, Barki had a very strong hunch it was the original painting, a painting which had been missing since 1928. After numerous emails to anyone and everyone he could find who had worked on the movie, eventually Barki got in contact with an assistant set designer who not only had the story of the painting, but had the painting itself hanging on her bedroom wall.
She’d purchased the painting for $500 in an antique store to add a little elegant decor to the Little’s apartment in the film. After filming, she liked the painting so much that she turned around and bought it off the company for her own collection. After Barki helped confirm the authenticity of the painting, the set designer sold the painting to a private collector who returned the painting to Hungary for auction.