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November 16, 2012

Tensions Mount Between Baltimore Museum and Donor's Family

The Washington Post explores longstanding tensions between the Baltimore Museum of Art and descendants of one of its major 20th-century donors, Saidie Adler May, which flared recently when a Renoir painting Ms. May gave or loaned to the museum decades ago turned up at a West Virginia flea market.

The painting, a small work titled "On the Shore of the Seine," had been reported stolen from the museum in 1951, several months after Ms. May's death, then largely forgotten. The late donor's great-great-niece and biographer, Susan Helen Adler, and other family members have long expressed concerns that the museum was not adequately safeguarding or displaying Ms. May's collection, much of which sits in storage, and has sold works without notifying them.

Museum officials say security at the institution is considerably better than at the time of the theft and that Ms. May's gifts came with no restrictions.