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Fla. Couple Wins Fight With City Over Starry Night House

Mount Dora cited pair, told them they had to paint over Van Gogh tribute
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 18, 2018 9:59 AM CDT
"The Starry Night" by Vincent van Gogh.   (AP Photo/Museum of Modern Art)

(Newser) – A Florida mayor must apologize to a couple fined thousands of dollars for having their home's exterior painted to emulate a Vincent van Gogh masterpiece. The Mount Dora City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday that Lubomir Jastrzebski and Nancy Nemhauser can keep the blue-and-yellow paint swirled on their walls in the style of van Gogh's painting The Starry Night, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The settlement agreement also says the city must pay them $15,000 and remove a property lien to end the nearly yearlong code enforcement case. Mayor Nick Girone reportedly planned a public apology on Wednesday, reports the AP.

"We are absolutely delighted and ecstatic," Nemhauser tells the Sentinel. "I’m unhappy that we had to go through all of this, but the ending is a happy ending." The artist who painted the murals, Richard Barrenechea, calls it "a big day for the arts." Nemhauser and Jastrzebski painted a wall of the house in the likeness of The Starry Night about a year ago, as a way to "relax" their 25-year-old autistic son, who's a fan of the painter. That earned them a citation from the city, which said the house must be painted a solid color and that the van Gogh theme was distracting to drivers. The couple then doubled down and painted the entire house in tribute to The Starry Night.

(Read more Florida stories.)

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