Art: The Trumbull Case

Labeled Portrait of an Officer, Artist Unknown, it looked like a good, average, 18th-Century antique wall-piece, the kind that lends hints of lineage to a paneled drawing room. Bailey Stanton, Chicago lawyer and amateur art collector, liked it enough to buy it at auction—for $127.50.

One day Collector Stanton showed his Officer to Dr. Maurice Goldblatt, director of the University of Notre Dame art galleries. "My God, you've got something there," said Dr. Goldblatt, who once helped the Louvre authenticate its famed Mona Lisa. He was, in fact, "90% sure it was a Trumbull" (John Trumbull, 18th-Century American historical painter and portraitist)....

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