Five Valuable Works of Art Discovered in People’s Attics and Garages

Jim Morris
Updated on
Jim Morris

Jim Morris

Jim Morris loves to travel and visit a lot of architecture sites worldwide. He shares lots of information and is always looking forward to the next article on interior design, architecture and landscaping.
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Valuable artworks are usually gracing galleries, museums, and the walls of private collectors. However, there have been some instances where some precious art gems have slipped through the cracks. Lately though, valuable works of art have come out of people’s attics and garages. You may read all about the artwork discoveries on the internet.

It could be because the artist was not popular until after his or her death as the technology for verifying the provenance of the work didn’t exist back then. It could also be possible that the owner of the artwork was in complete ignorance of the cultural goldmine he/she was sitting on. Read on to discover which long lost paintings surfaced to popularity from attics and garages. And who knows, you might just feel the need to clean your own storage spaces too.

1. Caravaggio Painting

Caravaggio Painting

In 2014 in Toulouse, French homeowners discovered a hidden painting in their attic while fixing a leak in their roof. The painting is supposedly an Italian artist, Caravaggio’s handiwork. The painting is a version of Caravaggio’s ‘Judith Beheading Holofernes’ (1599 -1602). It is put on display at the National Gallery of Ancient Arts in Rome. Experts cleaned and analyzed the painting in Paris and debated over its true origins.

It is the opinion of some experts that a Flemish Baroque painter of the 17th century, Louis Finson, created the painting. This opinion formed on the basis that Louis has studied and imitated the style of Caravaggio. However, others believe that the painting is the work of the Renaissance master himself who put it together somewhere around the early 16th century.

Eric Turquin, an art expert, has asserted the Caravaggio from the attic. He believes that the painting is an original citing of its intricate details, brush strokes, and employment of energetic style and light. On the other hand, certain experts such as Jonathan Jones, the British art critic, claim that the artwork lacks the “psychological intensity” of Caravaggio or realism of his signature.

2. Van Gogh Landscape

Van Gogh Landscape

Christian Nicolai Mustad, a Norwegian industrialist, purchased a painting called ‘Sunset at Monmajour’ in 1908. The painting featured the countryside in France at sunset. The painting was once a possession of Vincent Van Gogh’s brother and noted dealer, Theo van Gogh.

It was initially believed to be an original 1888 work of art by the famous artist. It was, however, relegated reportedly to the attic after Mustad was visited by the French Ambassador, who declared the painting to be a fake. Unfortunately, it sat there until the collector passed away in 1970.

The experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam claimed it to be inauthentic in 1991. However, a couple of years later, assisted by modern technology, art historians reexamined the painting and arrived at a different conclusion.

In 2013, the painting was declared authentic by the Van Gogh historians.

3. Jackson Pollock Painting

Jackson Pollock Painting

Employees of an auction house stumbled upon a painting by Jackson Pollock in the garage of a retirement home in Arizona. The paintings were accompanied by a cache of works by Kenneth Noland, Color field painter, Cora Kelley Ward (visual artist), and Jules Olitski (American abstract artist).

The owner has inherited this treasure from his socialite sister, Jennifer Gordon Cosgriff, from New York. She passed in 1993, leaving the treasure trove to her brother. CEO and owner of J. Levine Auction and Appraisal have estimated the value of the potential Pollock painting to be nearly $10 to $15 million, considering the heat, smoke, and moisture damage.

4. Rembrandt Painting

Rembrandt Painting

A slightly damaged and small-sized painting was estimated to sell at $500 or $800 maximum at an auction. The painting in question ended up fetching a staggering sum in millions after the experts discovered it was an original piece of work by the famous Dutch Old Master painter, Rembrandt.

The painting is a creation from 1624 or 1625. They call it “The Unconscious Patient (An Allegory of the smell sense).” It is a piece of work that belongs to a series created by the artist to depict the five senses. The painting is a portrayal of an unconscious young man being revived with smelling salts.

5. Henry Arthur McArdle’s Historic Painting

Henry Arthur McArdle Painting

Henry Arthur McArdle was an Irish immigrant of the 19th century. He became a popular Texas artist and had created a long-lost battle scene. This battle scene painting was rediscovered in an attic in West Virginia.

McArdle is famous for his sized mural paintings of the San Jacinto battle of 1836. Jon Buell, a descendant of McArdle, discovered this painting in 2010 in his grandmother’s attic. Buell obtained permission to contact an auction house in Texas. The small painting of the San Jacinto battle, although slightly punctured, was in good condition overall. It fetched a sum of $334,000 from a Texas buyer. Not bad for a small fortune, is it?

Jim Morris

About the author

Jim Morris

Jim Morris loves to travel and visit a lot of architecture sites worldwide. He shares lots of information and is always looking forward to the next article on interior design, architecture and landscaping.
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