Former Fenland man stars on BBC One art show in fight to prove painting is a ‘missing Monet’

A FORMER Fenland man is close to ending 18 years of uncertainty after one of his beloved paintings was hailed as a “missing Monet” on national television.

David Joel, 82, who used to live in a lighthouse at Sutton Bridge, paid a bargain price of �40,000 for a view of the Seine at Argenteuil 18 years ago.

The painting - signed by Monet - had not been admitted into the Monet Catalogue Raisonne and so could not be sold as a genuine. If it was confirmed, the Bord de la Seine `a Argenteuil could be worth millions of pounds.

Despite trying for years, Mr Joel had been unable to get the Wildenstein Institute to recognise the painting as a Monet. But Mr Joel was given a huge boost when he appeared on BBC One art show Fake or Fortune.

With the help of presenters Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould, Mr Joel took the painting back to Paris in an attempt to trace its origins and prove that the distinctive Claude Monet signature was no forgery.

Research proved that Monet’s signature was applied at the same time as the rest of the painting and the canvas was sent to Monet in Argenteuil in the 1870s. Previous owners had also been identified.

Two leading experts and members of Monet’s family have even backed Mr Joel’s claims to authenticity. But, despite trying on several different occasions, the Wildenstein Institute have dismissed suggestions that the painting is the work of the French impressionist.

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The 82-year-old retired naval officer has already vowed to continue the fight for recognition, which could see him acknowledged as the owner of a multi-million pound classic.

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