Five canvases believed to have been painted by the late artist Robert Lenkiewicz as part-payment when he fell behind with his rent are anticipated to sell for up to £20,000 each when they are auctioned this month.
Two of the paintings, which are being sold by property development company Sutton Harbour Holdings, date from the early 1970s, when the hard-up artist undertook a series he called Vagrancy.
One of them, Crying Man, The Red Shadow, is estimated to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000 when it comes up for sale at Plymouth Auction Rooms on June 27. Its subject is portrayed lying prostrate on rumpled bed-sheets, wearing just a pair of grey socks and waist-high brown Y-fronts.
Sutton Harbour's chief executive, Jason Schofield, said that the paintings had never been displayed prominently in its Plymouth waterfront headquarters, North Quay House.
He said: "Our ownership of these five paintings goes back many years and it has been rumoured that some may have been payment in lieu of rent when Lenkiewicz was a tenant on the Barbican – but that's difficult to verify, given it was so long ago.
"They've been rather hidden away in our offices and frankly rather unappreciated because we've not been able to display the bigger pieces properly, so we thought it better to offer them to people who have the room to appreciate them."
Auctioneer Paul Keen said: "We are delighted to be instructed by Sutton Harbour Group to sell these important paintings. This provenance adds a premium to the art work and we are expecting national and international interest."