The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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September 8, 2013

Couple’s dispute over artwork heads to court

SANDY LAKE — They say that art is in the eye of the beholder.

It’s probably a good thing that a Sandy Lake-area couple is no longer romantically linked as they beheld very different interpretations of a supposed, artwork he – or they – bought at an auction.

He said it’s a valuable painting. She said it’s a print reproduction. A judge or jury could have the final say as he has taken her to court.

Samuel L. Reed, 202 Valley View Road, Mill Creek Township, said in his complaint filed Aug. 1 that he bought the contents of storage units at an auction May 16 at Lakeview Self-Storage, Sandy Lake.

Storage unit 81 contained a clothes dryer, furniture, books, an autographed T-shirt of Olympian Dan Jansen and about 30 paintings and/or prints, said Reed’s ex-girlfriend and the suit’s defendant, Tracey L. Donop, 3341 N. Main St., Sandy Lake. She owns No Thyme Like the Present, a gift shop and consignment store at the same address.

One of those paintings and/or prints in unit 81 was “a valuable painting of a young girl, an original of the artist, Manan,” Reed said.

The work is a nude of a seated young woman, shown from the left side. The artist’s style is similar to the noted French Impressionist Jean Renoir.

Reed’s identification of the artist is suspect. Google searches of “artist Manan” and “painter Manan” turned up no helpful results. Dr. Louis A. Zona. executive director of the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, said he knew of no artist by that name.

“I’m not even sure that’s the proper name,” said Reed’s attorney, Larry J. Puntureri of New Castle. “My client is trying to get an art expert to help him with that.”

Even without a defendable opinion of the artist’s identity, Reed claims the work is worth $100,000, which is the amount he is seeking from Donop.

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