The Renoir painting Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin taken from a Paris bank vault during World War II, will be on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage through Thursday, September 20th
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeny Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today the return to its rightful owner of a painting looted by the Nazis during World War II. The painting, Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin, painted in 1919 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (the “Renoir”), was stolen by the Nazis from a bank vault in Paris in 1941.
Ms. Sylvie Sulitzer, the last remaining heir of her grandfather Alfred Weinberger, a prominent art collector in pre-war Paris from whom the Renoir was stolen, will see the painting for the first time when it is unveiled at a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City. It will remain on display for the general public to view at the Museum through Thursday, September 20th (the Museum is closed on Saturday and Jewish holidays). Admission will be free during this time.
Museum President & CEO Michael S. Glickman welcomed everyone to the Museum located in Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan.
“Today, as we celebrate the just return of this painting to its rightful owner, we also remember the uniqueness of the Holocaust and reaffirm our commitment to ensure that the words ‘never forget, never again’ never ring hollow. Hopefully this event brings some measure of justice to Madame Sylvie Sultizer and her family.”
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said: “The Museum of Jewish Heritage is proud to be the venue for this restitution, in furtherance of our mission as a living memorial to the Holocaust. We applaud the tireless efforts of those who worked to see this painting justly restored to Sylvie Sulitzer and the Weinberger family.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeny Jr. said: “The atrocities that took place during World War II at the hands of the Nazis cannot be summed up in a few words. They murdered, tortured, and plundered during their attempt to take over Europe and the world. In the process, they also carried out smaller acts of evil behavior, stealing hundreds of thousands of these pieces of priceless artwork. Some of those pieces are lost to our culture forever. However, we take a bit of pride in returning a painting looted during the war, and helping repair some of the destruction decades ago.”
Also participating in the ceremony was former District Attorney for New York County and Chairman Emeritus of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Robert M. Morgenthau who said, “All of us who have never forgotten about the Nazi lootings are grateful for the United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman’s interest in seeing that the stolen art is returned to its rightful owners.”