Nazi Art Recovery Hits Houston
"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.