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VIDEO: Frame At Last: Master’s ‘Lost’ Painting Missing For 45 Years Up For Sale At $850,000

Astonished auctioneer visits an estate to value vintage wine and finds a forgotten masterpiece in the attic. 

A painting by Korean minimalist painter and sculptor Lee Ufan said to be worth $856,000 has been discovered in an attic in Cognac, France, by an art expert who visited the property to appraise wine.

The French artist who owned the rural farmhouse had known Ufan 45 years earlier, and the pair had swapped some of their work.

French auctioneer Emmanuel Layan, who discovered the painting, said the property owner’s son mentioned his father was a retired painter with an impressive collection. They went to the attic where the paintings were stored.

Close-up of “From Point (in Paris)” by Korean minimalist painter Lee Ufan. (Emmanuel Layan/Zenger News)

Layan said he immediately knew the painting was remarkable; the hunch was confirmed after spotting Ufan’s signature. Research revealed the French artist and Ufan had both been in Paris and in Anvers in 1976, where they had exchanged works. The French artist retired in the 1980s; Ufan has since become well-known.

The numbered piece, “From Point (in Paris),” has been valued at between 400,000 and 700,000 euros ($489,000–$856,000). It is set to go on auction in Bordeaux on June 20.

Ufan has had worldwide exhibits of his paintings, starting in 1967 in Japan. His “Marking Infinity” exhibition was featured at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in 2011.

(Edited by Judith Isacoff and Fern Siegel)