Art dealer David Killen says he found this abandoned Willem de Kooning painting - one of many - stored away in Ho-Ho-Kus.
When a N.J. elementary school teacher offered David Killen a chance to buy 200 paintings she had in storage, the Manhattan art dealer thought they'd make great filler items at his next auction.
"I thought it was a bunch of junk," Killen said Monday. "I saw good, bad and ugly. Overall, I thought it was garbage, but I'm always looking for filler." He offered $75 a painting - a total of $15,000.
When he loaded the boxes of artwork onto his truck, he began to realize he'd stumbled onto an unbelievable find that could fetch millions. "The more I looked at them, the more I realized - these are real de Koonigs," he said.
What's going on? Ask Alexa what's happening around New Jersey Willem de Kooning was a Dutch abstract expressionist artist who died in 1997. His paintings have sold worldwide for tens of millions. Two experts say the paintings Killen has are authentic. Originally, the 200 pieces of art were gathered in New York City, in a world-famous art restoration studio run by conservator Orrin Riley. When Riley died in 1986, his girlfriend Susanne Schnitzer took possession of the paintings and held onto them for years, according to Killen.
In 2009, Schnitzer was hit by a car and died. Her trusted friends - a group from New Jersey serving as executors that included the teacher - took the paintings, along with many other of Schnitzer's possessions and stored them in Ho-Ho-Kus.
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.