Missing Painting Found through Hollywood Film Now Auctioned

February 11, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. masterpiece /ˈmæs tərˌpis, ˈmɑ stər- / (n.) – the best work of an artist
Example: The French artist’s masterpiece was a realistic painting of the Eiffel tower. 

2. exhibition /ˌɛk səˈbɪʃ ən/ (n.) – a show in which works of art are displayed publicly
Example: The exhibition had paintings and sculptures from all around the world.

3. prop /prɒp/ (n.) – an object that is used during a performance
Example: The actor used a real knife as a prop to make the scene more dramatic.

4. antique /ænˈtik/ (adj.) – referring to valuable objects belonging to a particular time in the past
Example: He has an antique collection of 1920s pocket watches.

5. authenticity /ˌɔ θɛnˈtɪs ɪ ti, ˌɔ θən-/ (n.) – the quality of being original
Example: The experts confirmed the authenticity of the painting and concluded that it is not a fake.


Read the text below.
A long-lost masterpiece that was found being used as a prop in a Hollywood film was put up for auction at $138,000.

The oil painting called “Sleeping Lady with Black Vase” has been put up for auction by an art collector in Hungary in December. The auction was held at the Virag Judit Art Gallery in Budapest, Hungary’s capital city.

The painting had been missing for almost nine decades. It was last seen in an exhibition in 1928 and went missing during the Second World War. More than 70 years later, it appeared as a prop in the 1999 Hollywood film, “Stuart Little.”

However, it was not until 2009 that someone recognized the painting. Gergely Barki, an art historian of the Hungarian National Gallery, had been watching the film and identified the painting based on an old photo he had of the 1928 exhibition. Barki then contacted the film’s producers to track the painting’s location.

According to Barki, a set designer of the film had purchased the painting at an antique shop in California for $500. It was used in the film because of its modern style. In 2011, Barki first saw the painting in person and confirmed its authenticity. It was later sold to the art collector.

The painting is one of the master works of Hungarian artist Róbert Berény. Berény was part of an influential art movement who introduced modern art styles and methods to Hungary in 1909. The “Sleeping Lady with Black Vase” was a portrait of his second wife and was painted during the 1920’s. It is considered one of his modern-styled works.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What can you say about the discovery of the long-lost painting in a Hollywood film?
·         Given the resources, would you have bought the painting? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         If you owned a work of art that was as valuable as the Hungarian painting, what would you have done with it? Please explain your answer.
·         What do you think is the best way to take care and appreciate works of art? Please explain your answer.

February 11, 2015