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ANE Portfolio Posts

May 1, 2013
Pain(t)ed Justice: The Curious, Troubling Case of Portrait of Wally

Pain(t)ed Justice: The Curious, Troubling Case of Portrait of Wally

by Ethan Gilsdorf    

Egon Schiele’s “Portrait of Wally” (1912) Courtesy of The Leopold Museum

The trials and tribulations surrounding Portrait of Wally are by now largely known in the art world. A famous Egon Schiele painting, stolen by the Nazis and "misplaced" in a famous museum's collection, gets unearthed and justice is restored. A new documentary, which bears the same name as Schiele’s coveted 1912 painting, is the first effort fully to connect the controversy's many sub-plots and dead ends. Andrew Shea's Portrait details the controversy, and subterfuge, surrounding the painting that, as the film's tagline hyperbolically claims, was the "The Face That Launched a Thousand Lawsuits." Well, not a thousand. But several. To recap the backstory: Female nudes were Austrian painter...

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