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Friday, 6 July, 2001, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
'Worthless' Poussin valued at 250,000
Detail of Poussin's Paysage d'Arcadie avec Fragments des Legendes de Pan et Bacchus
Paysage d'Arcadie avec Fragments des Legendes de Pan et Bacchus
A British couple hopes to earn 250,000 from the auction of a painting they thought was worthless.

The previously unknown painting by 17th Century Frenchman Nicolas Poussin could fetch between 150,000 and 250,000 when it goes on sale at Christie's on 11 July.


The rediscovery of two lost pictures from the master's earliest years in Rome is an extraordinary coincidence.

Christie's
A spokesman for Christie's Auction House said: "A couple from Oxfordshire brought it to Christie's in 1999 for a routine valuation convinced the painting didn't have any value."

The Paysage d'Arcadie avec Fragments des Legendes de Pan et Bacchus has been dated to around 1625 by art specialist Sir Denis Mahon.

The history of the picture is largely unknown, apart from one clue - a stencil on the stretcher shows that the painting was previously brought to Christie's in 1899 by a private owner in Cheltenham.

However the painting was neither catalogued nor offered for sale.

'Extraordinary coincidence'

Christie's is now auctioning the painting on behalf of the couple.

Christie's are also auctioning another Poussin painting from the 1620s, previously believed to have been lost forever.

The bid reserve price for Treve dans la Traversee de l'Egypte has been set at 1m.

Christie's was pleased with its finds, saying: "The rediscovery of two lost pictures from the master's earliest years in Rome is an extraordinary coincidence."

"These two new additions to Poussin's oeuvre help to enhance our understanding of an artistic career that was to provide the essential foundation for much of French painting for the next three centuries," a spokesman said.

See also:

05 Jul 01 | Entertainment
Harry Potter paintings for auction
30 Mar 01 | Arts
Da Vinci sketch could top 3.5m
09 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Religion not sensation, say art lovers
20 Sep 00 | UK
Art's shock treatment
14 Dec 00 | Entertainment
UK's art auctions 'under threat'
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