More than a million dollars worth of paintings that went missing from our client Hobcaw Barony 13 years ago have turned up and been restored — but the mystery of their disappearance remains.
Mount Pleasant’s ABCNews4 reports:
A 1932 oil painting of [Belle Baruch] and her horse Souriant by artist Sir Alfred J. Munnings is valued at $1 million. It and several other paintings were reported missing from the property on July 31, 2003.
“The importance of this painting in particular by Munnings of Belle and Souriant tells us a lot about Belle Baruch herself,” said Hobcaw Barony Executive Director George Chastain. “The foundation here was established by Belle and we really owe our existence to Belle Baruch.
Seventeen paintings by three separate artists were taken from Belle’s former home. Two weeks ago 11 of them were recovered.
“We had a number of tips over the years,” Chastain said. “None of them had ever panned out, but Wednesday about two weeks ago we got a call that the individual John Ivy, at Ivy Auctions House, was able to describe the paintings. And with his description it became very obvious that it was the actual Munnings that he had there in the auction house.”
They recovered the Munnings paintings along with seven prints by artist john James Audubon. Baruch purchased the Audubon paintings for $550 dollars back in 1930. Today they range from $45,000 to $85,000.
“They were not stored in the best conditions so we are going to put them in the hands of a conservator to examine the paintings to make sure that they are conserved the way they need to be conserved,” Chastain said. “Then our hope is to put them in a traveling exhibition that would possibly move around the state.”
For deeper background on the mystery of the paintings’ disappearance, check out this article in the Post and Courier.