Judge Leonie Brinkema on Friday rejected a claim of ownership from Marcia “Martha” Fuqua, the Virginia woman who says she bought it at a flea market for $7. Brinkema says there's overwhelming evidence that the painting was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1951.
Fuqua had planned to sell the painting at auction, but the sale was canceled after the claimed the painting was stolen more than 60 years ago, says WJZ TV. The FBI seized the painting in 2012 and held it while the court sorted through competing claims.
The miniature landscape was part of a box of odds and ends in a rural flea market that was purchased by Fuqua in 2009 without knowing the value of the unsigned artwork, according to the Baltimore Sun.
In November it looked like a settlement might be possible in the case.
Attorneys for Fuqua, 51, of Lovettsville, Va., had submitted a proposed settlement to the museum, the Sun said. A federal judge said litigation costs could quickly surpass a settlement sum.
But this week a federal judge announced arguments would be heard to determine who is the painting's rightful owner, says the Associated Press.