Lost Art

A Renoir piece stolen from the BMA in 1951 finally returns home.

By Jess Blumberg Mayhugh - March 2014

A stolen Renoir piece returns to the BMA

A Renoir piece stolen from the BMA in 1951 finally returns home.

By Jess Blumberg Mayhugh - March 2014

-Illustration by Brett Affrunti

If only the canvas of Renoir’s “On the Shore of the Seine” could talk.

The tiny 5 1/2-by-9-inch painting has been on quite a journey since being loaned to The Baltimore Museum of Art by collector Saidie Adler May in 1937.

“It’s small, but packs quite a punch with color and technique,” says Katy Rothkopf, the BMA’s senior curator of European painting and sculpture. Perhaps this is what caused thieves to steal the painting in November 1951, spawning a 60-year journey that landed it in a box of miscellaneous items at a West Virginia flea market and then the Potomack Company auction house in Alexandria, VA, in 2012.

The auction house contacted the BMA and—once they learned the painting was stolen—got the FBI involved. In January, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia awarded ownership of the painting back to the museum.

This month, the BMA celebrates its return. “We’ll include it in a small exhibit on Saidie Adler May in two galleries,” Rothkoph says. “We don’t currently have any Renoir landscapes from this period—where he was his most revolutionary. We can’t wait to get it home."





You May Also Like


The Chatter

Baltimoreans Recount the Moon Landing on Its 50th Anniversary

For those around to see it, the Apollo 11 mission was an especially momentous occasion.

News & Community

Public Trust

Fifty years in, Maryland Public Television continues to look to the future.

The Chatter

Demolition of Baltimore City Detention Center Sparks Intense Debate

Demolition contract would see historic site razed and rehabilitation center installed in its place.


The Chatter

Rat-Centric Real Estate Listing Puts Positive Spin on Baltimore Criticism

Dudley Roan Home Team places costumed rat in photos of latest listing.

Arts & Culture

And So Are You

Fluid Movement celebrates 20 years of community building and radical acceptance.

On The Town

Baltimore’s Little-Known Pickle History Celebrated at New Festival

Everything from fried pickles to pickle ice cream will be served at the September 22 event.

-Illustration by Brett Affrunti

Connect With Us

Most Read


Relics of Baltimore's Forgotten Punk Scene Showcased in New Metro Gallery Exhibit: Celebrated Summer Records owner Tony Pence curates fliers, photos, and music from 1977 to 1989.

Severe Flooding Plagues Neighborhoods Surrounding the Inner Harbor: Stark images of Harbor East and Fells Point arise on social media as area reckons with heavy rainfall.

Oletha DeVane Showcases Sculptural Works in 'Traces of Spirit' at the BMA: Local multidisciplinary artist explores religion, nature, and humanity in exhibit on view through October 20.

Developers Hope to Unveil Greektown’s Yard 56 by 2020: The mixed-use project will be anchored by Streets Market and LA Fitness.