Nazi-looted Renoir painting finally returned to its last heir

Brunilde Fioravanti
Settembre 14, 2018

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

One of 13 paintings Jewish art collector and dealer Alfred Weinberger stored in a Paris bank vault before fleeing the city, the Impressionist work was seized in December 1941 before being offered at auctions in London, Johannesburg, Zurich, and New York over the ensuing decades, reports the New York Times. Before the painting was unveiled, Sulitzer read a statement highlighting the importance of restitution as a form of justice.

In later decades, Sulitzer said she benefited from French restitution laws that compensate victims whose families' belongings were stolen during World War II. Morgenthau spoke of the importance of collaboration in rectifying such cases.

The name of the 1919 oil painting translates to "Two Women in a Garden" in English. Weinberger purchased the work in 1925 for his extensive art collection.

The Jewish couple fled to the French Alps and left their paintings - several by Pierre-Auguste Renoir - sequestered in a Paris bank vault.

"Nobody told me about the painting", Sulitzer said in an interview. Her grandfather had never talked about the stolen paintings, she said, because he never talked about the war.

After years of investigation involving the FBI and the US attorney's office in the Southern District of New York, Sulitzer finally laid eyes on the painting Wednesday.

Then, in 2010, Sulitzer got a phone call.

Sulitzer's grandfather, Alfred Weinberger, was an art collector in Paris. Finally, in 2013, when the painting had reached an auction run by Christie's in New York City, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was alerted by the auction house, and the owner agreed to surrender the stolen work to the authorities. "Suffice it to say that Madame Sulitzer believes that it is priceless". It is her first trip to NY. And Sulitzer made her claim.

In addition to "Deux Femmes", they took from Weinberger's collection four other Renoirs and a work by Eugène Delacroix, the locations of which remain unknown.

She said: "I would have loved to have kept it [the painting]". "It's a kind of justice". "I'm very thankful to be able to show my beloved family, wherever they are, that after all they've been through, there is justice".

Yet she does not plan to hold on to Two Women in a Garden: it is headed for sale at Christie's at a daytime auction on 12 November.

However, as Madame Sulitzer has already been compensated by the French and German governments for her family's original loss she has admitted she will nearly certainly have to sell the work.

The work is scheduled to remain on view at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, which has previously presided over such handovers of looted art, through Sunday (16 September).

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE