OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - A 128-year-old French impressionist painting plundered by the Nazis during World War Two has become a political football in Oklahoma, with lawmakers calling for its immediate return and the state's pre-eminent university looking to keep the work.

A Frenchwoman who says the art was stolen from her family has filed a lawsuit against the University of Oklahoma (OU), where its art museum now possesses the painting, "Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep" by Camille Pissarro.

Paul Wesselhoft, a Republican representative for Oklahoma City, is sponsoring a resolution he hopes to steer through the House next week calling for the painting to be returned. He said keeping it on display would be embarrassing for the state and the school.

"It is the right and moral thing to do for OU to return this painting to the Jewish family from which the Nazis plundered it," Wesselhoft said on Thursday. "Keeping this painting is an embarrassment. I'm ashamed that it's in the museum."

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