A pair of antiques experts filming an episode of their new television series made an exceptional find when they discovered a previously unknown work of art worth hundreds of thousands of dollars tucked away in an attic.
The century-old painting by Martin Johnson Heade was discovered by Leigh and Leslie Keno as they sifted through varied treasures at a home in Arlington Heights, a suburb of Boston. The Kenos, tipped off by a local appraiser, were filming an episode of their PBS series, "Find!"
The 12-inch-by-26-inch river landscape at sunset, which features a sailing vessel in the foreground, had been stored in the attic, face to the wall, for more than 60 years. The owner wishes to remain anonymous.
The Kenos took the painting to Heade expert Ted Stebbins Jr., head of American art at Harvard's Fogg Museum. Stebbins authenticated the piece, which is still in its original gilt frame.
"From the minute we walked in the door, we realized that we had entered a treasure trove of special collectibles, but couldn't have imagined that we would have found a work by such a preeminent artist," Leslie Keno said.
The painting will be auctioned on Dec. 7 at the Amesbury Auction House and the Kenos expect it to fetch anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000.
Heade, who lived from 1819 to 1904, was virtually unknown in his day.
The painting's discovery and its auction will be aired on separate episodes of "Find!" in December and January.