Bidding tops $125K for Maud Lewis painting found in thrift shop
'What’s happened so far has been a big set of surprises and maybe there’s more to come'
The auction for a Maud Lewis painting found in a New Hamburg thrift shop is less than a week old, but with 26 bids recorded, it's already reached $125,208.
The painting, entitled Portrait of Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy, Lobster Fisherman, Bay View, N.S., is valued at $16,000.
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Lewis, a folk artist, lived in poverty for most of her life and sold paintings from her small home near Digby, N.S., for as little as $2 and $3. She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.
Since her death in 1970, Lewis's paintings have sold for up to $22,000.
The painting was discovered in a donation bin at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift store in New Hamburg in March. A volunteer at the store recognized the piece and had it appraised. It's not known who donated the painting.
Rick Cober Bauman, the executive director of MCC Ontario, said they were not expecting the large jump in the amount of money being bid on the painting.
"No one's more surprised than me," he said Tuesday.
Auction runs to May 19
Portrait of Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy, Lobster Fishermen, Bay View, N.S. is painted on beaverboard, a pulp board Lewis used for many of her paintings.
The painting has been authenticated by JC Miller Antiques and Lewis expert, Alan Deacon.
Proceeds from the auction will benefit the work of MCC, a Christian group that helps with relief, development and peace efforts in countries where there have been disasters or conflicts.
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The auction opened April 20 and ends at 9 p.m. ET May 19.
He said the quick jump did bump a number of interested people out of the auction early.
"We don't quite know if it's finished," he said.
"Who knows. What's happened so far has been a big set of surprises and maybe there's more to come."