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95-year-old woman reunited with lost sculpture after 40 years

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May 16 (UPI) -- A 95-year-old retired seamstress was reunited with a sculpture of her likeness that was thought lost nearly 40 years after her granddaughter tracked the artwork down online.

Italian immigrant Maria Pulsone was chosen by her New York employer, Kozinn & Sons Tailors, to be the subject of a 51-inch sculpture to adorn the business' lobby four decades ago. The process involved covering her body in plaster, with only a pair of straws in her nose allowing her to breathe.

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The sculpture adorned the lobby of the tailor shop in Manhattan for several years, but it vanished when the business changed locations.

Pulsone said she assumed the artwork was destroyed, but her granddaughter, Jennifer Pulsone Heppner, recently decided to see if it was still intact somewhere.

Pulsone Heppner and her husband, Brian, began the search for the sculpture, and it turned out to be an unexpectedly short investigation. They did an online search for "woman sewing statue" and moments later discovered it was for sale at an antiques warehouse in Scranton, Pa.

"They gave us a Black Friday special for $600," Pulsone Heppner told WPIX-TV.

The family decided to donate the sculpture to the Italian American Museum on the Lower East Side, where Pulsone and her family attended the unveiling.

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"That's a piece of me," Pulsone said. "It's a big honor for all Italians, all of Italy. For me, I feel like a princess. I'm lucky. This is a very big moment."

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