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Two stolen masterpieces had been hanging in an Italian auto worker’s kitchen for years and he didn’t know the history behind them. The two paintings, by Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard, are estimated to be worth a combined $50 million.
Both paintings were stolen from a British couple in 1970, reports ABC News. They are Still Life of Fruit on a Table With a Small Dog by Gauguin and The Girl With Two Chairs by Bonnard. The Fiat auto worker purchased them for just $25 and had them hanging in his Sicily home for years, completely unaware of how valuable they were.
According to The BBC, the Gauguin work is worth between 10 million and 30 million euros ($13.78 million to $41.36 million). The Bonnard piece is worth around 600,000 euros ($827,000).
The reason the pieces are coming to light now is because the auto worker, whose name was not reported, thought about selling them and started circulating pictures of them. “He did so in good faith, as he did not know they were stolen. That is when we became aware of them and started researching,” a spokesman for the Art Theft Squad of the Italian police told ABC News.
The paintings originally belonged to Sir Mark Kennedy and his wife, who died without heirs. Authorities now have to decide who will be considered the rightful owners of the works.