The search is on for an online art lover who paid £3,000 for a painting on eBay eight years ago that has since been revealed as an impressionist masterpiece worth around £250,000.

Experts on the BBC antiques show Fake Or Fortune made the discovery when they valued a painting owned by writer Keith Tutt.

He had bought the canvas, now established as the work of French painter Edouard Vuillard, for a knock-down price at an auction.

pa

Above: the painting had previously been owned by art dealer Robert Warren who revealed it was one of a pair and said he had sold the other, depicting a couple eating oysters and drinking champagne, on eBay but could not remember who bought it.


The show's co-presenter Philip Mould said: "This is a wonderful example of what can happen in this programme. In the course of making the programme we threw everything into the pot in terms of forensics, science, historical (provenance) research, and even established that it been painted in distemper made from boiling hot animal glue.

"An amazing add-on has been to prove that now there is out there, possibly hanging above someone's fireplace, this further missing treasure. And they almost certainly don't know it."

pa


Another of Vuillard's paintings, called Les Couturieres, sold for more than £5 million in a Christie's auction in 2009 and experts value the newly discovered works at around £250,000 each.

Fiona Bruce, who co-hosts the show, said: "You can't miss this painting, it's very large at four feet high and an unusual oval shape. Whoever bought it off eBay has bagged themselves the bargain of the century.

"We've done all the forensic and investigative work to prove it's genuine, now we just need to find the owner and tell them the good news. Someone, somewhere in the world is sitting on a fortune."

Loading Slideshow...
  • Barnett Newman's "Onement VI" -- $43.8 Million

    ARTIST: Barnett Newman (1905-1970) PRICE: $43,845,000 ARTWORK: A 1953 "zip," a named coined by Newman that refers to the line down the middle of his canvases. AUCTION: <a href="http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/may-2013-contemporary-evening-n08991/lot.17.lotnum.html" target="_blank">Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction</a> (May, 2013) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/onement-vi-barnett-newman-painting-auction_n_3276987.html?utm_hp_ref=arts" target="_blank">For more on the Barnett, painting, check out our original article here.</a>

  • Gerhard Richter's "Domplatz, Mailand" -- $37 Million

    ARTIST: Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) ARTWORK: A 1968 work using Richter's signature photo-painting technique of a shopping center in Milan. AUCTION: <a href="http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/may-2013-contemporary-evening-n08991/lot.20.lotnum.html" target="_blank">Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction</a> (May, 2013) PRICE: $37,125,000 <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/gerhard-richter-painting-sells-for-37-million-in-nyc_n_3278209.html?utm_hp_ref=arts" target="_blank">For more on the Richter painting, check out our original article here.</a>

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Dustheads" -- $48.8 Million

    ARTIST: Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) ARTWORK: 1982 oil painting in Basquait's signature style. AUCTION: <a href="http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/jean-michel-basquiat-dustheads-5684046-details.aspx?from=salesummary&intObjectID=5684046&sid=f86179a6-8db1-40db-896f-6d95d365388b" target="_blank">Christie's Post-War And Contemporary Evening Sale</a> (May 2013) PRICE: $48,843,750 <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/basquiat-painting-dustheads-fetches-record-graffiti-art-christies-auction_n_3284836.html#slide=1838913" target="_blank">For more on the Basquiat painting, check out our original article here.</a>

  • Roy Lichtenstein's 'Woman with Flowered Hat' -- $56 Million

    ARTIST: Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) ARTWORK: 1963 pop art painting based on Pablo Picasso's portrait of his lover Dora Maar. AUCTION: <a href="http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/roy-lichtenstein-woman-with-flowered-hat-5684070-details.aspx?from=salesummary&intObjectID=5684070&sid=f86179a6-8db1-40db-896f-6d95d365388b" target="_blank">Christie's Post-War And Contemporary Evening Sale</a> (May 2013) PRICE: $56,123,750 <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/basquiat-painting-dustheads-fetches-record-graffiti-art-christies-auction_n_3284836.html#slide=1838913" target="_blank">For more on the Lichtenstein painting, check out our original article here.</a>

  • Jackson Pollock's "Number 19" -- $58.3 Million

    ARTIST: Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) ARTWORK: 1948 drip painting. AUCTION: <a href="http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/jackson-pollock-number-19-1948-5684054-details.aspx?from=salesummary&intObjectID=5684054&sid=f86179a6-8db1-40db-896f-6d95d365388b" target="_blank">Christie's Post-War And Contemporary Evening Sale (May 2013)</a> PRICE: $58,363,750 <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/basquiat-painting-dustheads-fetches-record-graffiti-art-christies-auction_n_3284836.html#slide=1838913" target="_blank">For more on the Pollock painting, check out our original article here.</a>