Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Exhibitions: Egon Schiele's "Portrait of Wally"

Exhibitions: Egon Schiele's "Portrait of Wally"

Tom Freudenheim has written about Egon Schiele's "Portrait of Wally" for the Wall Street Journal. The painting which was at the center of one the most publicized art restitution cases goes on view for three weeks at New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage this week.

What Is Lost When Works are Trophies

By Tom L. Freudenheim
Wall Street Journal (July 27, 2010)

It's interesting to contemplate how works of art, which museums generally want us to appreciate for their aesthetic values, can turn into trophies: emblems of issues or events that have nothing to do with their status as art.

Take Egon Schiele's "Portrait of Wally" (1912), which goes on view at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan for three weeks starting Thursday, following an out-of-court settlement of the dispute over its ownership. In 1998 it had been seized by then-Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau from a Schiele exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, to which it had been lent by Vienna's Leopold Museum. Mr. Morgenthau was acting on behalf of the estate of Lea Bondi Jaray. The heirs of the original owner held that the painting had been stolen from her by the Nazis and therefore did not belong to the Leopold Museum. "Portrait of Wally" may not be Schiele's most important but the legal case has certainly turned it into his most famous one.

Read the entire article here.

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