Weatherford Democrat

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
  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Emmy nominations: 8 snub shockers

    A lot of beloved shows and stars got  Emmy nominations on Thursday morning but there were definitely some snub shockers.

    July 10, 2014

  • Survey shows colleges flouting sexual assault rules

    More than 40 percent of 440 colleges and universities surveyed by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., haven't investigated a sexual assault in the past five years, according to a report released Wednesday.

    July 9, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Poll

The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

Yes
No
Undecided
Don't care
     View Results