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Tiny Renoir painting returns to Baltimore 63 years after theft

A tiny Renoir painting has returned home to the Baltimore Museum of Art 63 years after it was stolen and then kept mysteriously hidden for decades.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's painting On the Shore of the Seine, painted about 1879, was unveiled Thursday as the centerpiece of a new exhibition, The Renoir Returns. It opens to the public Sunday.

The painting, just 5½ by 9 inches, was uncovered in 2012 when a Virginia woman claimed she unknowingly bought it at a flea market for $7 and then prepared to send it to auction. But others, including her brother, disputed the story. A Washington Post reporter discovered the painting's connection to the Baltimore museum, and police uncovered a theft report from 1951.

The Renoir became the subject of a dramatic legal dispute involving the FBI, the woman who said she found the painting, an insurance company's rights to the artwork and the intentions of Saidie May, an art collector who bought the painting in Paris in 1925 and lent it to the Baltimore museum. May later gave 800 artworks to the museum, including many when she died.