A unique find in a trailer in Lewistown, Missouri has opened up the forgotten life of one of its residents and may give her life's work a chance to be appreciated once again.
In 2007 Lewistown Missouri resident Virginia Shoup Terpening died. She lived in an all but forgotten trailer overgrown with weeds.
What many residents of Lewistown didn't know was that inside that trailer was not only the life story of a once famous artist, but a rare connection to the history of their community and the state of Missouri.
Virginia Shoup was born in 1917. Her father Floyd Shoup was a state representative in Missouri from Lewistown and her mother Bertha Shoup was a local historian who wrote about the earliest years of the community.
Virginia's love for art was passed down from her mother and her talent took her around the world.
Virginia showed her art at galleries across the county like New York, Boston and St. Louis. Her work even graced the walls of galleries in Nottingham, England and Parma, Italy.
Lewiston resident Jason Geisendorfer bought the trailer and its contents from Virginia's daughter a few months ago.
"We walked inside and she showed me everything and I noticed that there was probably 50 to 75 paintings ... I started looking at the paintings after I purchased the place and thought the paintings were too good to destroy. So started doing some investigation and eventually like the bus that had the broken windows, there was probably over 200 oil paintings that was in that bus," Geisendorfer said.
Rumors about the find reached another Jason, Jason Wallingford of United Country iAuction and Realty.com who contacted Jason Geisendorfer.
He said it was Virginia's amazing talent that interested him.
"There's some phenomenal artwork in there. You know if you go out and lookup Virginia Terpening you're not going to find much on her. But when you look at the work you can tell she was a very talented artist. And you know, I want to be the one that puts Virginia Terpening out there on the spotlight," Wallingford said.
During her lifetime, Virginia showed her art with such famous artists as Andy Warhol and Andrew Wyeth. But the reason you've you've never heard of Virginia Terpening is because she never sold any of her art.
Her dream was to open her own gallery one day. A dream that sadly never came true.
Thanks to Jason and Jason, the lifework of this forgotten artist may get the chance to be appreciated by art lovers once again.
Wallingford will auction off Virginia's entire collection to a gallery so that it can be preserved and appreciated for years to come.
The deadline for the sealed bids in October 17th.
to check out the Terpening Collection on the iAuctionandRealty website.