“Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin,” painted in 1919 in the last year of French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s life, is finally back in the hands of the granddaughter of the Jewish owner who spent decades trying to get it back.
Sylvie Sulitzer, the last remaining heir of her grandfather Alfred Weinberger, a prominent art collector in pre-war Paris, received the work from US authorities during a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.
Although Sulitzer knew her grandfather, she had no idea about the missing Renoir until a German law firm, specialists in recovering art looted by the Nazis from Jewish families, contacted her in the early 2010s.
“I’m very thankful to be able to show my beloved family wherever they are that after all they’ve been through, there is a justice,” Sulitzer said.
Four other Renoirs and a Delacroix, which her grandfather also owned, have yet to be recovered, she told AFP.
The Nazis stole the art in December 1941 from the bank vault where Weinberger stored his collection when he fled Paris at the outset of World War II.
After peace returned to Europe, Weinberger spent decades trying to recover his property, registering his claim with French authorities in 1947 and with the Germans in 1958.
US officials said the Renoir first resurfaced at an art sale in Johannesburg in 1975, before finding its way to London, where it was sold again in 1977. It was put up for sale again in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1999.
But it was only when it was put up for auction by a private collector at Christie’s in New York that the auction house called in the FBI. Its previous “owner” eventually agreed to relinquish the picture.
It is thought that up to 100,000 works of art, and millions of books, were stolen from French Jews, or Jews who had fled to France before the Nazi occupation began in 1940.
The Allies found around 60,000 of the missing artworks after the war in Germany and returned them to France.
Two-thirds were returned to their original owners by 1950, according to a French government report seen by AFP earlier this year that criticized French authorities’ inefficiency in returning the rest. DM
Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?
Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.
Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.
Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.
*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.
The sound of Krakatoa exploding travelled around the earth three times.