orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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
  • 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

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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