'Lost' Picasso Found at Museum, 50 Years Later
But that's exactly what happened at an art museum in Evansville, Indiana.
The painting, from the 1920s, is of a woman sitting in a chair wearing a red hat.
It was donated to the museum in 1963 and, despite the signature on the top right corner, was not believed to be an actual work by Picasso.
"When the Evansville Museum received the gift, associated documentation indicated that the piece was created by an artist named 'Gemmaux,'" the museum said.
"Gemmaux," the plural of "gemmail," is an artist's technique of layering glass while adding a clear liquid enamel across before firing it up.
This technique was rare for Picasso, prompting the claims it was inspired by a Picasso oil painting.
So the painting, simply titled "Seated Woman with Red Hat," was placed in storage and basically ignored until earlier this year when a New York auction house called with questions about it.
"In the history of our museum this is the most important moment," museum curator Mary Bower told CNN affiliate WFIE-TV. "You're talking about simply discovery. And this is a story we know we could never make up."
The museum has since made the decision to sell the piece, citing the incredible price tag to keep the art safe if it were put on display.
"The value of the piece makes it prohibitive for us to insure it and then we would have all sorts of considerations about staffing all sorts of electronic additions to what we do with our facility that just makes it impossible to keep and we're so sad about that."