Portrait of Wally

  • Directed by Andrew Shea
  • United States/Austria, 2012, 90 mins., English

“Portrait of Wally,” Egon Schiele’s portrait 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. Shea’s film traces the history of this iconic image—from Schiele’s gesture of affection toward his young lover, to the theft of the painting from Lea Bondi, a Jewish art dealer fleeing Vienna for her life; to the postwar confusion and subterfuge that evoke THE THIRD MAN; to the surprise resurfacing of “Wally” on loan to the Museum of Modern Art and the legal battle that followed. “Fascinating… By showing how difficult and problematic righting a wrong can turn out to be, PORTRAIT OF WALLY does itself proud.”—Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times.

Genres: Documentary