State Lawmaker Petitions OU To Return Painting

Friday, February 7th 2014, 10:06 pm
By: News 9

A dispute over a very valuable painting nearly got the Assistant Majority Leader in Oklahoma's House of Representatives arrested Friday outside the Warren Theatre in Moore. 

Paul Wesselhoft represents the Moore district, and is a retired Army Chaplain who served all over the world. He says a more than century-old French painting called "Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep", that hangs in the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, is an embarrassment to OU. 

Wesselhoft says that painting was among works of art that were stolen by the Nazi's during Hitler's occupation of France during World War II. He says the daughter of the Frenchman who is the rightful owner of the painting is suing OU to get it back, and she should.  

Wesselhoft was handing out petitions in front of Moore's Warren Theatre Friday, until police arrived and told him he had to leave or he would be arrested for trespassing.

The new movie "The Monuments Men" just opened at the Warren. The movie is about heroic Americans who raced against time to retrieve stolen artifacts from the Nazi's during World War II. Wesselhoft says it's time for OU to do the right thing.

"I'm sure it's worth millions of dollars perhaps, but it's the right moral thing for OU to give it back because they know who the owner is." 

OU released a statement Friday basically saying the University is following the litigation "closely," and is anxious to see the dispute resolved soon.