It was big news when this Fantin-Latour still life sold for just over one million dollars (with commission), several times the estimate of $150,000 – $250,000.
The problem was that the painting was stolen from an artist/collector while he was painting in Florence, Italy.
While the victim was away, the housekeeper-handyman sold the painting to a local consignment shop for $1000.00 where it was then moved on to Shannons Fine Art Auctioneers in Connecticut where it sold to Noortman Fine Art in the Netherlands for just over $1M.
Chris Marinello spent the next several months unwinding the sale and obtaining releases from all the parties involved. With the help of the Waterford, CT police department, the FBI, and the Maastricht police, the painting was returned to the theft victim and the handyman was arrested. The victim invited Marinello to Florence to view his work and spend an afternoon having lunch in the open air.
After the Waterford police department described how they passed the painting around during their Christmas party to show everyone what a $1M painting looked like, Marinello took note. He now endeavours to take possession of recovered paintings directly or keeps then in situ under a consent order.