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BMA responds to filing in 'Renoir girl' case

The Baltimore Museum of Art has rebutted arguments that attempt to cast doubt on its claim that a tiny landscape painted by Pierre-Auguste Renoir was stolen from the museum in 1951.

The document filed Tuesday — known as a "reply" — is the most recent in a chain of filings concerning whether legal title to the 1879 landscape, "Paysage Bords de Seine" belongs to the museum or to a Virginia woman, Marcia "Martha" Fuqua, who said she bought the painting for $7 at a flea market without knowing its true value.

In some instances, Fuqua's attorney had asserted that the documents haven't been properly authenticated, while at other times, he claimed that they don't prove what the museum thinks they prove. In response, BMA attorney Marla Diaz argued that the documents should be considered.

A hearing on the museum's motion for a summary judgment will be held Jan. 10 in Alexandria, Va. At that time, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema will hear arguments as to whether she should in effect decide the title dispute without having the matter proceed to a formal trial.

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