W. Pa. school finds lost impressionist painting
PITTSBURGH (AP) – At first, it just seemed like a nice little painting of a doorway bathed in gentle light, destined to hang on a school administrator’s wall.
But then art experts realized it was a painting by French impressionist Henri Le Sidaner that’s been missing for 80 years.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Thursday Pittsburgh Public Schools are now considering selling the painting at auction, because it may be worth $500,000. It’s titled “Interior” and measures 40 by 32 inches.
The Friends of Art – a Pittsburgh nonprofit that acquires art and donates it to the school district to inspire students – bought the painting after it was displayed in the 1933 Carnegie International art exhibition.
“It was really great it turned up and we know where it is now,” said Louise “Lulu” Lippincott, curator for fine arts at Carnegie Museum of Art. “There are all these really neat treasures buried all over Pittsburgh.”
Officials don’t know how it was overlooked for so long but say a sale could provide significant help to the district’s art education program.
“Our district is not at a point right now where we have a lot of extra funding to restore and repair and maintain the artwork we presently have in our schools,” said Angela Abadilla, senior program officer for arts education in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
The painting is estimated to be worth $400,000 to $600,000, Abadilla said, but “we are hoping it’s going to fetch much more.”
A major reason the administration is willing to part with “Interior” is because Le Sidaner is French and most of the artists in the collection are from the Pittsburgh region. Officials also say the valuable painting would not be safe to display in a school.
The school board will vote on the recommendation to sell Jan. 23.
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