Painting found in closet brings $170K at auction

Image courtesy TreasureQuest.

Image courtesy TreasureQuest.

HOBE SOUND, Fla. – “The Appraisal Guys” at TreasureQuest Appraisal Group, Inc., Tim Luke and Greg Strahm, told Auction Central News they discovered a hidden – and valuable – art treasure while doing an estate walk-through this past summer.

“The estate wanted to liquidate the contents of the house,” said Luke, who is president of the company. “We took on the project and searched every storage place, including a closet where, to our surprise, we discovered the painting resting next to a ladder.”

“There must have been 10 years worth of dust on the painting from being in the closet,” added Strahm, TreasureQuest’s vice president.

After rescuing the painting, the next step was to determine the artwork’s value and the best market for the artist. TreasureQuest, having identified the oil on canvas as being the work of Antonio Zoran Music (Italian, 1909-2005), delivered the painting to Sotheby’s in Palm Beach, Fla., where it was given a preliminary estimate of $80,000-$100,000. The piece was then shipped to Sotheby’s in Paris, where it sold on Dec. 3 for the equivalent of $170,000.

The success of the painting highlights the importance of having an experienced set of eyes evaluating pieces, especially in an estate situation, Luke said. It was also important to bring the artwork to a larger audience of buyers at auction in order to achieve maximum price.

While many big-ticket Impressionist works failed to sell at Christie’s Paris gallery earlier this week [see related story on this news site], the animal-theme picture by Music saw no shortage of suitors at Sotheby’s. “The fact that the painting was in a closet for over 10 years certainly helped the piece,” Luke noted. “It was fresh and desirable, proving that even in a recession good items continue to sell.”