Renoir Returns

Magnifying glass enlarging the name, Renoir, on the gold leaf frame of his painting, On the Shore of the Seine. c. 1879.

Pierre Auguste Renoir. On the Shore of the Seine. c. 1879. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Saidie A. May Bequest, Courtesy of the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, BMA 2014.1

The Tales of the Purloined Painting Story Challenge

Tale 1:She Poses for Moses, Erroneously (with apologies to Mr. Kelly and Mr. O’Conner)” started by David Simon

Tale 2:Contours of a thief.” started by Justin Sirois

In 1937, the generous Baltimore-born collector Saidie May gave the BMA a lovely little painting by Renoir titled On the Shore of the Seine (c. 1879). In November 1951, it was stolen while on display in the galleries, was nearly auctioned in 2012, and only just returned to the Museum in January 2014. No one knows where the painting was for more than 60 years. If only this canvas could talk!

Since the painting remains silent on the subject, the BMA invited you to tell its stories. From March 30, 2014 until late June 2014, we published a piece of “evidence” each week from the history of the purloined painting. Readers were invited to contribute 500 characters inspired by each piece of evidence, connecting it to the preceding entries and taking the story in new directions you imagine. The entry with the most “likes” on this blog then became the next passage in the ongoing story. You can examine all the evidence in the Renoir Returns Flickr group or read the full and final stories here and here.

Acclaimed Baltimore-based writer and producer David Simon (The Wire) started the first continuing story, She Poses for Moses, Erroneously (with apologies to Mr. Kelly and Mr. O’Conner).

Justin Sirois (So Say the Waiters) now offers a thrilling new direction for our second tale of the purloined painting, “Contours of a thief.”

Thanks to both David and Justin, and to all our authors who contributed to the story. Particular thanks to Jan Ryan for her ongoing contributions.