The granddaughter of a Jewish art collector whose paintings were stolen by the Nazis has had a family reunion with one of the works after nearly eight decades.
A Renoir painting looted by the Nazis during World War II has been returned to its rightful owner, NY federal officials announced Wednesday.
"It's an awesome decision and I am very thankful to show my beloved family, wherever they are, that after all what they've been through, there is a justice", said Sulitzer.
The reunion, though, will probably be short-lived.
Madame Sulitzer had been looking for the missing artwork since 2010 and staked her claim after it went up for auction in 2013.
Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District in NY, said Wednesday's event that it is about more than just a painting.
The office had been researching artwork that had been stolen by the Nazis, and had discovered a list of works that Mr Weinberger had not been able to recover.
At a restitution ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan, Two Women in a Garden (1919) was presented to Sylvie Sulitzer, a delicatessen owner from a small town near Marseilles and the granddaughter of the Parisian art collector Alfred Weinberger.
Weinberger put some of his paintings in a bank vault for safekeeping before fleeing from the Nazis in France. That's when 59-year-old Sulitzer, Weinberger's granddaughter and only heir, caught wind of it. "Hopefully this event brings some measure of justice to Madame Sylvie Sulitzer and her family". "We never talked about the war at home". 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.
The brief return still stirred strong feelings inside her. "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".
A close up of Renoir's 1919 painting "Femmes Dans Un Jardin", which is now on display at a NY museum.
"The extraordinary journey this work of art has made around the globe ends today", said Bill Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's NY field office.
Sweeney and Berman said the owner of the painting, who was not disclosed, voluntarily relinquished it. Authorities would not speculate on the current value of the painting.
The painting is on display at the museum through Sunday and will go back to Sulitzer's possession after that.
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.
Despite that, she said, she was thrilled to have it back, saying it was important for the memory of her family, and she thought her grandfather would consider it justice.
She said: "I would have loved to have kept it [the painting]". "As far as I can remember, nobody every spoke about the war", she said at a news conference Wednesday.