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Portrait of Wally (2012)

6.9
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The story of a Nazi-looted painting, Egon Schiele's 'Portrait of Wally,' that was discovered on the walls of the Museum of Modern Art in 1997, triggering a historic court case that pitted ... See full summary »

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The story of a Nazi-looted painting, Egon Schiele's 'Portrait of Wally,' that was discovered on the walls of the Museum of Modern Art in 1997, triggering a historic court case that pitted the Manhattan District Attorney, the United States Government and the heirs of a Viennese gallery owner against a major Austrian Museum and MoMA. Written by Anonymous

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jewish | artist | vienna austria


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28 April 2012 (USA)  »

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A Gripping Story of Justice-Seekers
21 July 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is an important documentary. One one level, it's about one Nazi's theft of "Portrait of Wally," a painting by Egon Schiele, from a Jewish household in Austria just before World War II, and a decades-long fight by the tenacious Lea Bonni, the painting's owner, and her family, for justice. But more important, perhaps, it's about how revered institutions, e.g., the Museum of Modern Art and NPR (yes, National Public Radio) fought against efforts to restore the painting to its rightful owner. Even in an age of skepticism, such as ours, this film is jaw-dropping when it comes to outing some of the "bad guys." The filmmakers did their homework—they have the documents, the interviews. The list of thank you's at the end reaffirms the width and breadth of their documentation. That said, the film is totally gripping, enlightening about history and the art world, and it flies by quickly. For fans of Schiele's work, it's an extra pleasure, but it's for everyone who cares about making the world a better place.


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