I remember hearing a story of some rich Armenian American buying an Arshile Gorky drawing for a few hundred dollars at a WWII fundraising auction to support some Armenian cause and then walking out of the charity event and immediately trashing the work–he thought it was worthless crap.
I also remember when I moved overseas for a year I returned to find my dad had thrown away a drawing by Napo B I had purchased (he was formerly of the Canadian art collective Fastwürms) because it was drawn on aluminum foil and he thought it was trash.
But this story is pretty incredible…at a museum no less:
A prized 1921 painting by the French cubist Fernand Leger has been lost – perhaps unintentionally thrown out – by Wellesley College’s Davis Museum and Cultural Center.
“Woman and Child” [pictured below] is part of an important series by Leger that applied jagged, geometric strokes to a familial theme. John McAndrew, then director of the Davis, gave the oil on canvas to the museum in 1954, and it has hung on the walls of the Davis for most of the time since.
The whole sad story on the Boston Globe website here.