Austin man searching for family painting accidentally sold at Houston estate sale

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An Austin man is desperately trying to find a family painting he says was hastily sold at his mother's estate sale on January 24.

"My mom, for as long as I can remember, never showed me the thing," said Sam Gorman. "It sat in the garage for 40 years."

Due to his mother's dementia, Sam and his brother had to quickly coordinate the sale of his mother's Houston home off of North Boulevard between Shepherd Drive and Greenbriar Drive.

Sam, who lives in Austin, was in charge of coordinating the estate sale and began the big task of sorting through items to keep and things to sell.

He admits he wasn't expecting a large showing for the sale, but says buyers quickly showed up and started to sort through the items.

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A couple discovered a vintage portrait of Gorman's mother, which was painted from a photograph taken for her high school graduation. She is posing in a white floral dress.

"My grandmother, my mom's mom, had it commissioned and it was hers until she died, and then my mom received it," he said.

Because Gorman had never seen the painting before and didn't realize the significance, he sold it to a couple and almost immediately regretted the decision.

"It hit me after it was gone, I was like, this thing is actually important," he said.

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After walking outside to see if the couple was still around, they had already left. He has not stopped thinking about the painting and how to get it back.

All he remembers about the buyers is that they were an older couple who fell in love with the painting. He did not get their names.

Gorman is now offering up $200 to get the painting back and can be reached at

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