Chopin portrait bought at flea market is from 19th century
A peeling portrait of Frederic Chopin purchased at a flea market in Poland hung modestly in a private house for almost three decades before an expert dated the painting to the 19th century when the Polish piano composer lived.
Now restored and in a gilded frame, the small painting resides in a bank vault somewhere in eastern Poland while its owners negotiate their next steps, including a public exhibit.
News of the artwork's existence broke this week as Warsaw hosted the 18th Frederic Chopin Piano Competition, an international event known for launching the careers of world-class pianists. The competition runs through Oct. 23.
Nicolaus Copernicus University professor Dariusz Markowski, the art expert who examined and restored the portrait last year, says it has significant historic and emotional value, but he refrained from estimating what it might sell for.
The painting measures 29.5 centimeters by 23.3 centimeters (11.5 inches by 9 inches.) Using advanced methods, Markowski timed its creation to the mid-19th century based on the materials and pigments used, and the extent of the ageing and damage.
But it is not now possible to pinpoint the exact year of its provenance, and it will be difficult to identify who painted it because only the artist's first name, Alfred, is preserved, he said.
"It is evidently Chopin, but I cannot say whether he posed for this portrait or whether it was painted from another picture," said Markowski, principal of the Torun university's Conservation and Restoration of Modern Art Department.
"We know nothing of its history or who it was painted for," he told The Associated Press. "It was in a very bad state, and I'm really happy that artwork like this can be saved."
Chopin was born...