Original Group of Seven painting found at yard sale

Yes, you really can discover treasure in unlikely places.

Only recently, in Vancouver, a man purchased two paintings at a yard sale for $50 each that turned out to be authentic Group of Seven works of art.

After buying, he decided to take them in to be appraised, and it took contemporary arts specialist Kate Bellringer two months to confirm her feeling that they were indeed iconic pieces.

“He saw them in the yard sale, didn’t know that they were authentic, but he said it was an impulse purchase when he decided to buy them,” Bellringer told CTV News.

The first piece was painted by the legendary man who inspired the Group of Seven, Tom Thompson, and numerous Thompson experts agree that the painting is most definitely an original.

At first the buyer almost didn’t even show that piece to Bellringer, because he felt it didn’t look valuable.

The minute she saw it she had a gut feeling it was an original, and after some cleaning, Thompson’s signature was just barely visible in the bottom right corner.

The painting is of Ontario’s Algonquin Park, and was created in the spring or summer of 1915. It will go up for auction on May 15th, and Bellringer expects it to go for between $150,000 and $250,000.

The second piece was also found to be a Group of Seven original – a 1901 watercolour cityscape painted by Frederick Horsman Varley. It will also be put up for auction on May 15th, and is expected to go for between $4,000 and $6,000.

A few years ago, another unknown Thompson painting sold for $170,000 after years spent hanging in a New England home.

Recently, at a garage sale in Las Vegas, British businessman and art buff Andy Fields bought a handful of 1930s sketches for $5. Hidden among the sketches was an original Andy Warhol drawing worth $2 million.

The signed sketch on tattered paper was apparently etched by the legend when he was either 10 or 11, and is being hailed as the earliest example of Warhol’s famous Pop Art style.

Fields was told it might be worth 10 times as much as its formal valuation – but he has no plans to sell it – instead he plans to put it on display for others to enjoy.

“It’s an incredibly important work. It redefines the work of one of the most famous artists of the last 100 years. It moves the birth of Pop Art back two decades, showing Warhol was already doing that sort of stuff at a far younger age. I’m not interested in the financial gain for now. It’s only right that great art should be shared,” he told The Sun.