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Nazi Art Recovery Hits Houston

Dominique Sachse and Nick Florescu celebrate return of painting, looted by Nazis, to his family

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News, Nick Florescu in Paris, March 2014
Nick Florescu in Paris where the family's Lippo Memmi work was reinstated by the French government. Courtesy photo
Dominique Sachse, Nick Florescu
Nick Florescu, here with wife Dominique Sachse, was in Paris to receive a painting looted by Nazis from his grandfather. Photo by © Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group
News, Nick Florescu in Paris, March 2014
Dominique Sachse, Nick Florescu

Nick Florescu and his family members, including wife Dominique Sachse, are quietly celebrating today the return of a valuable painting looted from the family trove by Nazis during World War II.

"Madonna and Child," by 14th century master Lippo Memmi, was one of three paintings that the French government returned to the families of rightful owners in ceremonies in Paris on Tuesday.

For several weeks, Florescu has been telling Houston friends about the then-upcoming restitution ceremony in Paris. He would represent the family in receiving the painting that was stolen in 1944 from his grandfather, Romanian banker Richard Soepkez, who lived in Cannes on the French Riviera. 

Florescu told the Associated Press "It's unbelievable what's happened . . . I mean, think about all these years. It was not even in the cards but the French government was very helpful in finding this and we owe a great gratitude to them."

French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti led the return of the works and according to AP, called it "a gesture toward justice."

Later in the day, Florescu headed to Antibes on the French Riviera to share the news with his father, Radu Florescu, who was too ill to attend the ceremony in Paris.

The family has not yet decided on disposition of the painting.

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