Sotheby's is to auction two paintings which were stolen from the home of their owner in its upcoming American Art sale.
The artworks were taken from Mae Persky, who was tied up by the armed thieves while they ransacked her Massachusetts home in 1976.
The paintings were rediscovered after a lawyer brought them to an art dealer for an appraisal. Upon realisation that the works had been stolen, the dealer contacted the FBI.
The works were later awarded by the courts to the sole heir of the Persky estate, Judith Yoffe, who died in 2008.
The first of the paintings comes from American painter Frederick Childe Hassam. Renowned for his luscious depictions of urban and coastal scenes, he was instrumental in promoting Impressionism to American audiences.
His 1888 work, In the Sun, is to feature as one of the standout lots of the important art sale. The oil shows a young lady bathed in sunlight on a porch surrounded by flowers, and is expected to make $1.5m-2.5m in New York on May 17, 2012.
The second stolen painting, The Shore of Lake Geneva, comes from French Realist Gustave Courbet. Courbet was a founder of the 19th century Realism movement, famed for his outspoken social commentary which eventually saw him exiled from Paris in 1871.
His brooding interpretation of the alpine lake's beach will go to auction with an estimate of $200,000-300,000.
Paul Fraser Collectibles will bring you more from the American Art sale over the coming weeks, in the meantime see our Art & Photography selection which includes a handwritten letter from perhaps the greatest Impressionist painter, Claude Monet.