Renoir Painting Stolen By Nazis Returned to Owner’s Only Living Heir

Sylvie Sulitzer's grandfather spent much of his life trying to get his artwork back.

Sylvie Sulitzer poses with the recovered Impressionist painting "Two Women in a Garden," painted in 1919 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir on September 12, 2018 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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When Alfred and Marie Weinberger escaped Nazi-occupied Paris at the beginning of World War II, they couldn’t take their paintings with them. The Jewish couple fled to the French Alps and left their prized art — including several works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir —sequestered in a Paris bank vault.

One of those left painting was “Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin,” one of the last paintings Renoir made before he died in 1919. He reportedly had to tie the paintbrush to his hand to grip it during this time, because his rheumatoid arthritis was so severe.

But the Weinbergers never saw the painting again. On Dec. 4, 1941, the Nazis plundered the collection, reports The Washington Post. After the war, Alfred Weinberger spent much of his life trying to get his paintings back, and he was successful in getting some, but never Renoir’s “Two Women in a Garden.” In 2010, Weinberger’s granddaughter, Sylvie Sulitzer, set out to recover the stolen work. And this week, Sulitzer finally laid eyes on the painting, during a unveiling of the painting in New York at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

According to The Post, the painting will stay on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage temporarily. It will then be returned to Sulitzer, who has said that although she would love to keep it, she may have to auction it off for financial reasons.

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