"Starry Night House": Florida Couple Settles Legal Battle to Keep Van Gogh-Inspired House (What Do You Think?) by Renee
In 2017 Nancy Nemhauser and Lubomir Jastrzebski hired an artist to paint a mural in the likeness of Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting. The couple wanted the mural for their adult son, who has autism, in case he got lost. At first, they only wanted to paint the wall in their front yard, but after a code-enforcement officer said the wall needed to match the house, they opted to paint their entire house.
Shortly after the painting was finished, the couple was told that the painting was in breach of the city's signage laws and could prove a distraction to motorists. They were told to remove the painting and was fined $10,000. In response, the homeowners filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing that the unconventional paint job is a form of free speech protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
After a year long battle, the Mount Dora City Council unanimously agreed to waive the fine and, as part of a settlement, to pay the family an agreed fee on July 17. Nemhauser shared that they are unhappy that they had to go through all of this, but the ending is a happy ending.