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Found: A Maud Lewis Painting in a Thrift Store Bin

An unknown benefactor donated a work by one of Canada’s most famous folk artists.

Maud Lewis, now one of Canada’s most famous folk artists, lived her life in poverty and obscurity. Before she died in 1970, her paintings sold for just a few dollars; now they’re worth tens of thousands.

Recently, one of her paintings showed up in the donation bin of the Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Center, in New Hamburg, Ontario, a small town about two hours west of Toronto. The painting came with no fanfare, but one of the center’s volunteers recognized Lewis’ style. The painting, which is titled “Portrait of Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy, Lobster Fishermen, Bay View, N.S.,” has since been authenticated by outside experts, reports the New Hamburg Independent.

The painting is 11 inches by 13 inches; Lewis used beaverboard, a kind of fiberboard, as her canvas. Lewis lived in a one-room house in Nova Scotia, and she’d often paint on boards like this one, which she’d cover first in white paint.

The newly found painting will be on display from April until May in the town of Kitchener, while it’s being auctioned off.