Drawing bought at Queens thrift store worth $200,000

WOODSIDE, Queens (WABC) -- They say art IS everywhere.

So, even in the aisles of a Habitat ReStore in Queens, amidst old appliances, macramé and ceramic bowls, someone spotted a work of great value -- a drawing that could fetch as much as $200,000.

The man who bought the drawing, an original by artist Egon Schiele, likely paid between $10 and $20 for it, according to the director of the thrift shop. The buyer wishes to remain anonymous for now.

"Come and find your treasure here at the ReStore. You never know what you're gonna get," said Leslie Williams, director of the Habitat ReStore in Woodside.

Meanwhile, Jane Kallir the gallery director at Galerie St. Etienne in Midtown, said she had her doubts at first.

"I mean, we've got hundreds and hundreds of these things in our files. Most of them are fakes," she said.

Kallir said the drawing is now a part of a Galerie St. Etienne exhibit and for sale. The exhibit will run through October 11.

She said the owner had a vibe, and a great eye, even if he doesn't work professionally in the art world.

He suspected the original drawing, with the signature cut off, was by Schiele, a famous Austrian Expressionist. It was part of a series, leading up to a famous lithograph, which would be his final piece before the artist's death in 1918.

Interestingly, a whole year went by before the gallery owner could even determine the drawing was authentic because the man who found it initially sent a blurry photo.

"But the quality of the line and what he's able to do with the line is something only Egon Schiele can do," Kallir said.

She called the discovery "amazing," but it's also amazing news for the thrift shop. The owner of the art pledged to donate a portion of his proceeds to Habitat ReStore's cause -- affordable housing.

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