Film Screening: Portrait of Wally

7:00 p.m.

Portrait of Wally, Egon Schiele's tender picture of his mistress, Walburga ("Wally") Neuzil, is the pride of the Leopold Museum in Vienna. But for 13 years the painting was locked up in New York, caught in a legal battle between the Austrian museum and the Jewish family from whom the Nazis seized the painting in 1939.

Directed by Andrew Shea, this captivating documentary film, Portrait of Wally, traces the history of this iconic image – from the seizure of the painting by Nazis from Jewish art dealer Lea Bondi, to the surprise resurfacing of "Wally" on loan to the Museum of Modern Art in the 1990s and the dramatic, consequential court case that followed.

It was in 1997 when the heirs of art dealer Lea Bondi asked MoMA to hold the painting in New York, MoMA and the Leopold Museum dug in their heels and refused. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau issued a subpoena and launched a criminal investigation. A 13-year battle in court followed, tracking the course of a Holocaust property crime and reopening the wounds of one of the century's worst tragedies — all at a time when the prices of Egon Schiele's works rose faster than those of any painter on the art market.

The "Wally" case brought the story of Nazi art loot into the open, eventually forcing museums in Europe and the U.S. to search their own collections for suspect objects. Many museums ended up returning art to Jewish families who had abandoned hope until "Wally" showed that institutions could be held accountable for holding property stolen during the Holocaust. The case was resolved in dramatic fashion in the summer of 2010, but only after the history of Schiele's extraordinary painting was unearthed to revisit the crimes of the Holocaust and to witness the reluctance of major institutions in Europe and New York to send the "last prisoners of war" back to their families.

After the screening, the film's co-writer and producer David D'Arcy will answer questions from the audience. 

Sponsored by the United Nations Association of New York and The New School.




Tishman Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J. M. Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street


This event is free to all holders of a New School ID. Please present your ID at the registration desk on the evening of the event.

Tickets for the general public are $15.00 and must be purchased in advance. To purchase tickets visit the UNANYC website.

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