Hillsborough County

Tampa Bay area man believes he has unknown work by famous painter

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) - Dean Mack is convinced he has an authentic Renoir painting in his possession. 

The problem is proving it.

Mack says his mother gave him the painting and she was given the painting by her grandfather.

"Her grandfather had got it from over there in France in 1922," said Mack.

Unfortunately, the painting does not have a visible signature from Renoir.

Mack says he has used various imaging techniques and is able to see Renoir's signature within the painting.

"You will see 'Pierre Renoir' in 3D like, you don't see it with your own eyes, that's what I'm saying. I had to use Photoshop to find it.," said Mack.

Renoir is a famous French Impressionist who lived from 1841 to 1919.

Mack believes the painting could be worth millions if it's proven to be real.

Proving it could cost him several thousand dollars to have the paining authenticated and Mack says he doesn't have the money.

"What I hope to happen is it gets recorded somehow because this is a piece of history that nobody has ever found out about," said Mack.

Frances Redell-White is a certified appraiser.

She has worked for more than 20 years in the Tampa Bay area appraising a wide variety of items.

White says it can be a long and difficult process to have a painting authenticated if there is not provenance to prove it that comes with the painting.

"Provenance, which is the history of the piece, which means you received it from someone who received it from someone who received it from the artist," said White.

She scanned photos of the painting and would not say if it is or is not an authentic Renoir.

"I wouldn't want to say. I will say that I can tell that it looks like the materials are from the period," said White.

That's the good news for Mack and his painting, the bad news is that without the signature and other forms of proof, there is only one group that can authenticate the painting and they meet twice a year in France and there is a fee for their evaluation.

While White isn't convinced Mack has a real Renoir, she says the news isn't all bad.

"It's a nice painting and it could be by somebody else," said White.

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