MCC Photo/Ken Ogasawara

Volunteer Louis Silcox and New Hamburg Thrift Centre Store Manager, Karla Richards, display the discovered treasure.

An original Maud Lewis painting was discovered at the New Hamburg Thrift Centre. Volunteers at the New Hamburg Thrift Centre came across the unique piece while sorting through general donations. Maud Lewis is one of Canada’s best known folk artists. How this painting ended up at the New Hamburg Thrift Centre remains a mystery. Karla Richards, General Manager of MCC’s (Mennonite Central Committee) New Hamburg Thrift Centre explained “One of our amazing volunteers noticed the painting in a bin of art and before long it had been authenticated by JC Miller and Associates and the foremost expert on Maud’s work, Alan Deacon, as the real thing”. 

The painting, entitled Portrait of Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy, Lobster Fishermen, Bay View, N.S. is painted on beaverboard, a pulp board, which is indicative of the types of media on which Maud Lewis’ work was created. Living in poverty for most of her life, she sold her paintings from her small home near Digby, Nova Scotia for as little as $2 and $3. After achieving national attention through an article in the Star Weekly and being featured in a CBC TV documentary, two of her paintings were ordered by the White House during Richard Nixon’s presidency. Lewis died in 1970. Since then, her paintings have sold for up to $22,000.

MCC is inviting art lovers and the general public to an exciting evening celebrating Maud Lewis. The event begins with a special advance screening of the movie, Maudie, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, which celebrates Maud Lewis’ life and has received awards and accolades, including the Super Channel People’s Choice award at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Following the film screening, the painting will be available to view along with other Maud Lewis pieces from a local art enthusiast who has also written extensively about Maud Lewis.

The screening will take place on April 20, 6:45 pm at the Princess Twin Cinemas, 46 King Street North, Waterloo. The after party will start at 8:45 pm the Delta Hotel Waterloo. Tickets are $50 each and are available at or by calling 519-745-8458.

Bidding for the painting will open at the event and continue online until May 19. The original painting will be available to view from April 21 to May 19 at the Homer Watson House and Gallery, 1754 Old Mill Road, Kitchener. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to MCC’s work in relief, development and peace.

“There’s something moving about the work of an artist – who lived most of her life in poverty – supporting those also facing those same realities,” added Rick Cober Bauman, MCC Ontario Executive Director. “By supporting emergency relief efforts, sustainable development initiatives, and peacebuilding projects in Ontario and around the world, the legacy of Maud Lewis’ work will extend even further, making a real difference for others in need.”

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