A famous painting that was looted by the Nazis during WWII has finally been returned to its rightful owner after the FBI got involved.
“Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin” (Two Women in a Garden) was painted by French Impressionist Auguste Renoir in 1919. In 1925 it was bought by art collector Alfred Weinberger in Paris, and he was forced to store it in a bank vault when he fled Paris during the Nazi invasion.
He later tracked the painting to Germany in 1961, but was never able to get it back. It was sold numerous times, fetching almost $400,000, until 2013 when a private seller tried to list it through Christie’s Auction house. Christie’s was notified that a woman named Sylvie Sullitzer was making a claim on the painting, as she was the granddaughter of Alfred Weinberger, who died in 1977.
It was withdrawn from the auction and an investigation began, which eventually confirmed that the painting was one of the looted pieces from Weinberger’s collection. On Wednesday, the painting was presented back to Sullitzer at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC.
The effort to return the painting was coordinated between the FBI and the DOJ.