A missing painting hung in an apartment in New York for 60 years. Coincidentally, a museum visitor had realized that a photo of the neighbor belongs in the exhibition series.

A visitor to the Metropolitan Museum in New York discovered a painting that had been missing for decades in her neighbor’s apartment. The photo of the American artist Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) is now part of the loan exhibition, the museum announced Wednesday (local time).

One of the artist’s five missing paintings

It is one of 30 of the “Struggle: From the History of the American People” series created by the African American artist during the civil rights movement in the 1950s, currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum, five of which were missing.

The woman had therefore visited the exhibition and immediately thought of the painting in her neighbors apartment on the Upper West Side, not far from the Metropolitan Museum. When she got home, she encouraged her neighbors to contact the museum. The neighbors bought the photo for a small fee at a local charity auction in 1960 – and said they were unaware of its relevance to art history.

Photo in the living room for 60 years

“A friend viewed the exhibit and said, ‘There’s a white spot on the wall and I think that’s where your picture belongs,’” said the New York Times owner. “I felt I owed it to both the artist and the Met to show the photo.” She was 27 when she and her husband bought it. “The photo has been hanging untouched in my living room for 60 years.”

The museum was finally able to confirm that it was the original, as it was called. “A discovery of this importance in modern art is rare,” said the Austrian director of the Metropolitan Museum, Max Hollein. “And it is exciting that a local visitor is responsible for it.”

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