(DES MOINES, Iowa) Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines is expecting a lot art-lovers this summer, to see an "Old Masters" painting in their collection, by Otto van Veen, done sometime between 1595 and 1600.
Hoyt Sherman Place Executive Director Robert Warren found the long forgotten painting in a storage area. He thinks when the painting "Apollo and Venus" was donated nearly 100 years ago, it was considered too "racy" and was tucked away in the dark for decades.
"Everything about the painting is very, very suggestive for a 1922 collection," said Warren during an interview with WHO Radio News. "One of his (van Veen's) classic signatures is the rosy cheeks, and literally her bum is a bright, rosy-colored red."
Warren says the painting, done on wood panels, was in very bad shape before they had it restored. An art historian was able to verify it was authentic, and also confirmed it had been on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City, in 1881.
The historian also found a second painting in the Hoyt Sherman collection had also been on display at the famed museum.
The van Veen painting was donated to Hoyt Sherman Place in 1922, the same year the Hoyt Sherman Theater opened. It was donated by Mason Barthlomew Collins, who donated another painting which was sold in 1999 for more than $4.2 million.
Warren says since van Veen's "Apollo and Venus" was never sold, it's hard to put a value on it. He notes an appraiser from Sotheby's is coming to review the painting, along with more than 50-others in the Hoyt Sherman collection.
Warren says they plan to keep it in their collection, and make it part of their permanent installation in July or August.
*van Veen is in every major museum, because he was Peter Paul Rubens instructor, taught Rubens out to paint
*Hoyt Sherman and his brother of General William Tecumsah Sherman both worked for President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.