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Flashback to 1999: The Thomas Crown Affair was a big hit, on the back of a sexy mystery involving a stolen painting. If there was a movie that could have plausibly contributed to the art world, one would think it'd be that film. Ten years after that film's release, it was discovered that another movie released in the same year helped solve an actual mystery involving a missing painting. That film was Stuart Little, and that painting was "Sleeping Lady With A Black Vase."
Good Morning America scooped the story about how art historian Gergely Barki spotted the painting after watching the Michael J. Fox film with his daughter. It looked like the long missing Robert Bereny piece "Sleeping Lady With A Black Vase". So, he reached out to the studio and eventually tracked down the painting, which had since been sold to a private collector. It was later authenticated. Thanks to Barki's efforts, that private collector is ready to cash in on an artisan treasure that's been missing since some point in the 1920's. You can see the painting more clearly in the Stuart Little trailer, included below. Jump to 02:08 for the moment the painting appears.
The funniest part about the whole Stuart Little story is that when the painting was purchased by the film's assistant set designer, it was purchased for a paltry $500 without any concept that it was a masterpiece. After discovering the painting's pedigree and authenticating that the painting shown in the film was, in fact, the genuine article, the value skyrocketed to a healthy opening bid of $138,000. That bid, courtesy of the Hungarian auction house that will be selling this painting in the near future, is expected to peak in the $240,000 to $325,000 range – which put the estimated maximum bid at 65 times what the Stuart Little crew paid for it.
The fact that this painting was even found after several decades of being out of the public eye is amazing. Add to that the fact that Stuart Little was the film that ultimately ended the search is an even funnier coincidence. Come to think of it, who knows what's missing out there that could be found if you look closer at some of your favorite movies? Better still, who knows when another movie is going to happen upon some sort of weird, lost treasure the world had thought they'd never seen again? At the very least, it's the best news Sony's been linked to after some rough seas they've been sailing all throughout 2014.
Stuart Little is available on DVD and Blu Ray, and contains the clues to the greatest mystery of all: "Why in the world did they make Stuart Little 2 and Stuart Little: Call Of The Wild?"