Everyone loves a mystery, and this one began when Grant Holcomb, director of the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, purchased a painting called The Printseller's Window at Sotheby's in 1998. Holcomb didn't know much about the artist, Walter Goodman, or the 1883 work, but as he recently told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle: "I was struck by the power of it....I thought it could be the finest example of trompe l'oeil art in 19th century America."
Chief curator Majorie Searl continued: "The specificity of every object in the painting suggested a message -- a mystery we had to unravel. Perhaps we should have hired Sherlock Holmes, who lived on Baker Street at the same time as Goodman."
Turns out that wasn't necessary. Researchers, led by a Rochester lawyer named Peter Brown, who is head of the museum's art committee, followed clues to London, and elsewhere, but -- incredibly -- the museum discovered that the best sources, Goodman's descendants, lived in Rochester.