There’s nothing more satisfying as a lover of antiques and collectibles (other than finding something cool and valuable at a garage sale or Goodwill) than knowing something “lost” has been “found.” In this case, it’s a painting. A c.1899 oil-on-panel owned by two generations of a Kansas City family for at least 60 years. The painting, called Lauschende Faune (Listening Fauns) by German artist Franz von Stuck (1863-1928), was not seen in public for more than a century. The painting depicts a classical figure playing a harp while being watched by a pair of satyrs.
In 1904, the painting was pictured in a German art journal and the title was listed as Belauscht (Overheard or Eavesdropping). In 1909, the painting was exhibited for seven weeks at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Remains of the label from that exhibition remain on the painting. The exhibition’s catalog identified it as being the property of Hugo Reisinger, a banker, businessman and prominent art collector who was married to the daughter of St Louis brewery baron Adolphus Busch.
The painting was last seen in 1919, when it was displayed at the Dallas Art Association’s First Annual Exhibition, the title listed as Listening Fauns. For the next 100 years, no one knew where the painting was or who owned it, until 2021, when it was rediscovered in a Kansas City, Missouri, mansion.
The 36 1/2-by-33 1/2-inch (47 by 44 inches framed) painting is in its original gilt frame, which was designed by the artist. The painting was sold by descendants of the family on September 23 at Soulis Auctions in Lone Jack (suburban Kansas City), Missouri, for $144,000, including buyer’s premium. The pre-sale estimate was $75,000 to $125,000.
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