Mother’s Artwork Recovered on eBay 38 Years Later

By: Jennifer Lowe, Contributing Writer

A mother sells her artwork to pay for a divorce – and her daughter recovers the piece 38 years later.

Constance Feleus had a talent for bringing art to life.

Known in the Seattle area for her “sculptured scenes,” Constance had developed a technique for turning two-dimensional artwork into three-dimensional masterpieces.

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Constance was so precise in cutting, curving, and layering paper that the artwork appeared seamless and without layers even when viewed from the side. “The way she did it was like nothing else out there,” said her daughter, Katherine Chapel, recalling the level of detail required to execute these pieces.

Much of the artwork stayed within the family – but one piece in particular was sold. “She was in a bad marriage,” said Katherine. “So she used her only skill that she could to get out. She gave the divorce lawyer the picture she had done at the time to fund her divorce."

Constance reunited with Katherine’s natural father afterwards, an event chronicled in the local news. 

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In January 2016, Constance passed away, and Katherine set about sorting through her belongings. Each of the children had received at least one art piece, but Katherine thought it would be nice to recover the lost piece Constance had sold for the divorce.

On a whim, she tried searching on eBay for “Anton Pieck,” her mother’s favorite artist that she recreated in 3D - and up came her picture.

“I was in shock for hours. I couldn’t talk. The chances of that happening!” said Katherine, describing the experience. 

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Constance had used a particular frame that had a golden and tortoise design. “The seller took really good pictures of it, and I was able to blow it up on my cell phone and look at the details of the picture,” said Katherine. “That’s why when this picture came up on eBay, I knew – ‘That’s Mom’s.’”

“Just to see it there in my home, and know that it’s there - it’s wonderful. To think that in 1978 when she did it, and now, to get back to me, 38 years later, blows my mind.”