It seems hard to believe that incredibly valuable works of art are still being discovered among piles of family storage or — in this case — in a bric-a-brac stall in a French flea market. But should it be?
Whenever cases of art discovery surface in mainstream news, there always seems to be a degree of disbelief. How could a masterpiece by that artist be lying out in the open, for anyone to discover or purchase? However, while museum-goers and gallery enthusiasts have the pleasure of seeing many of the greatest works of art in person, the fact remains that many lay undiscovered — especially since so many works were stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
The most recent eye-opening discovery emanates from Sarrebourg — a small town in eastern France, where a retired French archaeologist was browsing various stalls in the local flea market. An engraving caught the man’s discerning eye, and experience told him of the work’s potential value and historical significance. As he examined the work, a faded stamp on the verso of the print confirmed his suspicions: Staatsgalerie.
As it turns out, the engraving discovered is the work of the king of printmaking, Albrecht Dürer, who was born in 1471 in Nuremberg, southern Germany. Titled “Maria Crowned by an Angel,” the print had been missing since World War II and presumed lost. As only an honorable person can do, the buyer donated the print anonymously back to the Staatsgalerie, where museum curators are still determining how to properly display it. Experts agree that the print is in outstanding condition and was likely produced circa 1520. Not bad for, reportedly, just a few euros at a flea market.
To learn more, visit ArtNet.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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