When Jenny Verastro neared the end of her life in November, 2004, she revealed something truly stunning to her family. From her deathbed, the Staten Island-native told her family about a hidden secret, locked away for many years – right underneath a sewing machine.
Once Verastro had passed, her nephew Carl began to look into this sewing machine and the “treasure” underneath. He finally managed to locate her dusty Singer-brand machine in the attic crawlspace, pulling it out – only to have what may be a Picasso original spill out onto his lap!
“Three days before she passed on, she told me, ‘Don’t forget, Carl, to look under the sewing machine,’” he recalled. “As I moved the sewing machine, it came sliding right out into my lap. I was stunned. I found it wrapped in newspaper. That started this adventure 12 years ago.”
The painting, known only as Woman with a Cape was first bought by Jenny’s husband Nicky all the way back in the days of the second world war. He found it for just $30 from a street vendor in London and Jenny held onto it in the years since.
It turns out that there is another duplicate painting at the Cleveland Museum, but Carl believes that his is not a complete fake. Rather, he thinks it is one of the many duplicates that Picasso apparently painted to test out different types of paint.
While Carl’s story sounds good, if this was a real Picasso don’t you think it would be far easier to authenticate? According to art appraiser Richard Beaulieu, it is of the correct time period and has all the right paperwork. Beaulieu is now, “really convinced it is the real deal.”
One expert at Christie’s immediately deemed the painting a forgery and dismissed Carl after just ten minutes – almost the exact opposite of Beaulieu’s reaction. Considering the painting could be worth up to $30 million, even one appraisal can make all the difference.
Do you think this painting is real or just one of many Picasso forgeries spread across the art world? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!