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Judge Hears Claims on Renoir Painting’s Ownership

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An art shopper looks closely at a 5.5 inch by 6.6 inch (14 centimeter by 23 centimeter) painting by French Impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir titled "Paysage Bords de Seine". (credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GettyImages)

An art shopper looks closely at a 5.5 inch by 6.6 inch (14 centimeter by 23 centimeter) painting by French Impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir titled “Paysage Bords de Seine”. (credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GettyImages)

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal judge will hear arguments on whether a napkin-sized painting by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir should go to a Baltimore museum or a Virginia woman who says she bought it at a flea market for $7.

Marcia “Martha” Fuqua had planned to sell the painting at auction, but the sale was canceled after the Baltimore Museum of Art claimed the painting was stolen more than 60 years ago. The FBI seized the painting in 2012 and has held it while the court sorts through competing claims.

Fuqua’s story that she bought the painting in 2009 has since been contradicted by others.

The museum says it is the rightful owner no matter how Fuqua acquired it. Fuqua says the museum’s documentation of the theft is legally inadmissible.

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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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