As a follow-up to my previous post, based on the overwhelming evidence submitted by the Baltimore Museum of Art (“BMA”) regarding the 1951 theft of a small Renoir, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia concluded that the Impressionist gem painted on a napkin had to be returned to the BMA as the painting’s rightful owners.  The Court opinion turned on whether there was sufficient evidence that the small painting had in fact been stolen from BMA because, as the Court noted, “even a bona fide purchaser for value cannot acquire title to stolen goods.”  This case highlights that provenance is key!  Assuming that the report that Ms. Fuqua purchased the painting at a flea market for $7 is true and accurate, then Ms. Fuqua must be thankful that she only spent a couple of bucks on the item rather than the tens of thousands it is reportedly worth.  All buyers of fine are advised to gather as much documentary evidence from the seller at the time of purchase and to keep receipts and any other documentation to show when, where and how the item was acquired in case a dispute over title arises.