Masterpiece found in elderly French woman’s kitchen on sale


PARIS | A masterpiece attributed to the 13th-century Italian painter Cimabue that was discovered earlier this year in an elderly French woman’s kitchen is expected to sell for millions at auction Sunday.

Stephane Pinta, a painting specialist with the Turquin gallery in Paris, said an auctioneer spotted the painting while inspecting the woman’s house in Compiegne in northern France and suggested she bring it to experts for an evaluation.

Titled “Christ Mocked,” the painting measures about 10 inches by 8 inches (24 by 20 centimeters).

Art experts say it’s likely part of a larger diptych that Cimabue painted around 1280, of which two other panels are displayed at the Frick Collection in New York and the National Gallery in London.

The painting’s discovery has sent ripples of excitement throughout the art world, according to art experts. The auction was taking place near Chantilly, north of Paris, and it expected that a major art museum could purchase it for 4 million to 6 million euros ($4.4 million to $6.6 million).

Until recently, the work hung on a wall between the kitchen and the dining room in a house in Compiègne. Its owner had considered it an icon of little importance.

Specialists at the Turquin gallery initially examined the painting and concluded with “certitude” that it bore the hallmarks of Cimabue.