1138 GMT November 28, 2020
Wendy Hawkins, who volunteers twice a week at the Hotline Pink thrift store in Kitty Hawk, spotted the artwork sitting on display in a broken and dirty frame, Daily Mail Online reported.
Despite its dilapidated condition, she felt there was something special about the work and decided to get it checked out by an expert.
Hawkins took the picture to Melanie Smith, owner of the nearby Seaside Art Gallery, who identified it as a Salvador Dalí original.
The painting turned out to be one of a series of woodcut prints that Dalí created between 1959 and 1963 called ‘Divine Comedy’ in honor of Italian poet Dante Alighieri.
Dalí created 100 works based on the poem's 100 verses after being given a commission by the Italian government.
The works were first planned out in watercolor by Dalí. Each was then carved into hardwood blocks, one for each color, and printed one by one onto the paper to recreate the original artwork, Smith explained to the Virginian Pilot.
Dalí used 3,500 wood blocks for the series of 100 paintings.
Michael Lewis, director of the charity which runs the shop, told local station WAVY that he has no idea who donated the work.
He said most donations come from people renovating beach houses, but that items are often dropped off in the middle of the night.
Lewis was also unable to say how much the painting was originally listed for, but said most artworks end up selling for between $10 and $50.
Dalí was a Spanish surrealist painter who was most active during the 1930s and a contemporary of the likes of Picasso and Miro.
His most famous work – ‘The Persistence of Memory’, painted in 1931 – features melting clocks draped across a barren landscape.