"It's an incredible 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.
Before Sulitzer discovered its existence, the painting had traveled out of Nazi hands to private collections in multiple countries, Sweeney said.
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. "I think he would be very, very happy", she said of Weinberger, who became a rural resistance fighter rather than accept an offer to serve as an art expert for the Nazis; before his death in 1977, he would file claims for the painting with both French and German authorities.
United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman unveiled the property of Weinberger's only heir with Sulitzer at his side, at a news conference on Wednesday.
The granddaughter of a Jewish art collector faces saying farewell to a stolen Renoir painting she spent nearly a decade trying to find. The Nazis made a regular practice of looting artworks and other items of cultural and financial significance, and in the decades since World War II, efforts have been made to find the objects and return them to their owners if possible, with varying levels of success. That's when 59-year-old Sulitzer, Weinberger's granddaughter and only heir, caught wind of it. "Okay, we'll never forget". The painting might not stay in the family, however.
The artwork was given to prestigious auction house Christie's in 2013, at which point its authenticity and origins were called into question.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was 78 and crippled with arthritis when he painted "Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin" in 1919, and during his final months in his home on the French Riviera, an assistant would insert a brush into his deformed fists before he could paint. Her attorneys contacted the auction house, which in turn went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation division that looks into situations of this sort.
The FBI took up her case after the 1919 oil painting was listed for auction at Christie's and sought to return it to its rightful owner.
"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.
Ms Sulitzer will now likely sell the painting, as she has fees to pay to the French state, who had previously compensated her as part of the victims' group la Commission d'Indemnisation des Victimes de Spoliation (CIVS).
She said she was thrilled to see her grandfather's Renoir for the first time, but "for me, it's not the fact of the painting really". "As far as I can remember, nobody every spoke about the war", she said at a news conference Wednesday.