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The Metropolitan Museum’s celebrated exhibition “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle” has drawn many visitors, but recently one of them had a revelation: She suspected that one of five panels missing from the artist’s original series of 30 re-examining the nation’s early history had been hanging in her neighbors’ Upper West Side apartment for decades. 

She returned home and encouraged them to contact the museum. The neighbors had purchased the small painting by the renowned Black artist for a very modest sum at a friend’s Christmas charity art auction in 1960, to benefit a music school. They are an elderly couple and asked the Met and The New York Times that they not be identified to protect their privacy. They are not art collectors; they had only become aware that their painting of confrontation between soldiers and farmers in Revolutionary War times might possibly be part of a larger series when they read stories about the Lawrence exhibition premiering earlier this year at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., and the curators’ efforts to locate the lost works. Last week, the couple finally contacted an art adviser to help them navigate the Met, one of the country’s largest museums.

Read more on The New York Times:

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