Decades of forgotten art found in Lewistown trailer

One of many paintings by Terpening, found in a Lewistown trailer

A unique find in a trailer in Lewistown, Missouri has opened up the forgotten life of one of its residents.

Lewistown resident Virginia Shoup Terpening died in 2007, leaving behind an all but forgotten trailer overgrown with weeds.

Most people didn't realize that inside the trailer was not only the life story of a once famous artist, but a rare connection to the history of the Lewistown community and the state of Missouri.

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 Jason Wallingford of United Country iAuction and who said Virginia's amazing talent 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 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.

Geisendorfer and Wallingford have teamed up to make sure the lifework of this forgotten artist has 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.

To see the full story from our sister station KHQA click here
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