When a middleman charged with having Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s “Portrait of a Girl” appraised for a pair of wealthy collectors claimed he lost the 19th-century painting after a drunken bender at the Mark Hotel, everyone assumed foul play was involved. Fingers were pointed in every direction: The owners of the painting sued the middleman, then one owner accused the other of being a con artist who made the whole thing up in order to cheat her out of her fair share, and the feds charged him with fraud. But it seems the guy was telling the truth: He really did just drunkenly lose a $1.4 million painting.
Apparently, he was so wasted he stashed it in some bushes soon after leaving the hotel (“Can’t carry this thing,” he must have thought to himself. “Will come back laterz.”). The next day it was found there by a doorman, Franklin Puentes, who works across the street. Puentes installed “Girl” in his bathroom, where it resided until his friends suggested it might just be valuable.
He researched it and last Sunday discovered that it was at the center of a legal storm that included a lawsuit and federal criminal charges.
Man, if only the people who found every single bike we’ve ever owned were so thoughtful.