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'The Simpsons' riff on BMA's long-lost Renoir in latest episode

"Law & Order" is usually the TV show known for its "ripped from the headlines" plots, but Sunday's episode of "The Simpsons" seems to have been inspired by a recent legal case involving the Baltimore Museum of Art.

In the episode, Lisa's guinea pig ruins the family's existing living room artwork, forcing Marge to find a replacement at a neighborhood yard sale. But brainy Lisa later discovers that the painting might be worth $100,000, causing friction with the work's original owners.

A sound familiar? It did to the caretakers of the museum's Facebook page who pointed out the connection Sunday.

A painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir was recently returned to the BMA decades after it was stolen from the museum. A Virginia woman made headlines in 2012 after she said the bought the painting for a mere $7 at a Harpers Ferry flea market. A legal battle ensued and the court ruled in favor of the museum.

The 1879 artwork, "Paysage Bords de Seine," has been valued at between $22,000 and $100,000.

The painting goes on display next Sunday at the BMA. The episode of "The Simpsons" airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on WBFF, Channel 45.

timswift@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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