(Image: Columbia Pictures)
Róbert Berény (1887-1953) was an accomplished Hungarian painter famous in his homeland for his avant-garde innovations. One of his more important works, Sleeping Lady with Black Vase, disappeared in Hungary in the 1920s. More than 80 years later, an art historian rediscovered it in the background of the 1999 American children's movie Stuart Little.
(Photo: Virág Judit Galéria)
In 2009, Gergely Barki of the Hungarian National Gallery sat down to watch a movie with his daughter Lola. They saw a television presentation of Stuart Little. The Guardian describes Barki's experience:
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Bereny’s long-lost masterpiece on the wall behind Hugh Laurie. I nearly dropped Lola from my lap,” said Barki. “A researcher can never take his eyes off the job, even when watching Christmas movies at home.”
Barki wrote many emails to people who worked on the film. 2 years later, he got a response from a set designer:
“She said the picture had been hanging on her wall,” Barki said.
“She had snapped it up for next to nothing in an antiques shop in Pasadena, California, thinking its avant garde elegance was perfect for Stuart Little’s living room.”
After leaving Sony, she sold the painting to a private collector who has now brought the picture to Budapest for sale by auction.
Berény's Sleeping Lady with Black Vase will be auctioned on December 13. The starting price is €110,000 ($136,930 USD).
-via Ace of Spades HQ