Renoir Stolen by Nazis returned to Rightful Owner After 8 Decades

Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The granddaughter of a Jewish art collector whose paintings were stolen by the Nazis had a family reunion with one of the works on Wednesday after almost eight decades, an impressionist piece by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Renoir painting looted by the Nazis during World War II has been returned to its rightful owner, New York federal officials announced Wednesday.

The painting, “Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin,” painted in 1919 by Pierre Auguste Renoir, was stolen by Nazis from a bank vault in Paris in 1941, said a news release from the US Attorney’s Office and FBI.

It was stolen from Alfred Weinberger, a prominent art collector in prewar Paris, and Wednesday it was returned to his last remaining heir, his granddaughter Sylvie Sulitzer (shown in the photo above), at a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.

“When Gen. [Hermann] Goering stole paintings from private collections from different museums around Europe, he needed an expert to verify them,” said Sulitzer after the painting was unveiled.

“Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin” was painted in 1919. Credit: Courtesy of Sylvie Sulitzer via AP

Instead of accepting the offer, Sulitzer’s grandfather joined the Marquis, “a rural guerrilla group of French Resistance fighters” to escape.

After the war, Sulitzer said Weinberger had a chance to declare different items of his that were stolen during the war, including jewellery and paintings.

According to the release, “The Renoir resurfaced after the war at an art sale in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1975. It subsequently found its way to London, where it was sold again in 1977, and then appeared at a sale in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1999.”

Finally, the painting ended up in Christie’s Gallery in New York, where it was put up for auction by a private collector in 2013.

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