The US Attorney’s Office has brokered a $19 million settlement for a piece of art stolen by the Nazis.
“Portrait of Wally," by the Austrian artist Egon Schiele has been stuck in American courts since 1997. That’s when it was loaned by the Vienna-based Leopold Museum to the Museum of Modern Art, and seized by federal authorities as stolen property imported into the United States.
Under the settlement, the Leopold Museum will pay the estate of Lea Bondi Jaray $19 million. Bondi Jaray, a Vienna art gallery owner, was forced to sell or surrender most of her collection in the years before World War II.
Rudolph Leopold, whose collection later became the Leopold Museum, agreed to help Bondi get back “Portrait of Wally” after the war, but he kept it for himself, and legal efforts failed to get it back.
Bondi died in in 1969.