87yo woman makes appeal for her nude painting lost in a garage sale

Eunice Jeffers, aged 87, is making an appeal to the public to get her nude painting back after it was lost in a garage sale in Blenheim.

Jeffers and her husband Robert live in Whanganui now, but they were newlyweds in Canada when the painting was done in the late 1950s.

“The painting is of myself. It was painted 63 years ago by an English artist and he gave it to us a short time late. To our knowledge it has never been exhibited.”

The artist was F. John Miller. According to an obituary published in the Montreal Gazette he was a noted artist, painter, and professor emeritus at Concordia University in Montreal.

He died in 2015.

Jeffers said she knew Miller through a circle of friends and the painting was done at his home.

She couldn’t remember how long it took, but recalled several sittings were involved.

“Keep still and hold that pose,” Jeffers said she thought at the time.

The painting is about 50cm by 80cm in size.

Her husband believed the idea for the painting could have come from The Nude Maja or La Maja Desnuda, which is a painting by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya.

Jeffers eventually gave the painting to her eldest daughter after she said she would like it.

Her daughter then had a garage sale a couple of years ago in Blenheim and it’s thought the painting was inadvertently sold.

At the time her daughter moved some of her possessions into storage and it was only last Christmas when the family realised the painting wasn’t there.

Jeffers has placed advertisements in a local Blenheim newspaper asking for information about the painting’s whereabouts, but with no luck.

On Saturday she placed an advertisement in the Weekend Herald with a picture of the painting.

It was titled “Naked Lady on Bed. Lost or sold by mistake in a garage sale. If you own this, will you please contact the original owner. ph 027 603 6668”.

The photo of the painting is grainy, but it’s the only one Jeffers has of it. It’s from a cut-out when one of the couple’s homes was featured in a magazine.

“We would really love to have it back in the family where we think it belongs,” Jeffers said.

“Please, I would like it back for our descendants. It’s a painting of me, something I did in the early days of our marriage. We’ve been married nearly 66 years now. It’s a long time.”

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