Lea Bondi Jaray (Q96774701)

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Jewish art collector, and refugee from Nazi Germany (1880-1969)
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English
Lea Bondi Jaray
Jewish art collector, and refugee from Nazi Germany (1880-1969)

    Statements

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    1969
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    One day in August 1966, Lea Bondi Jaray, a Jewish Viennese art dealer who had fled to London in 1937 with nothing more than she could carry, wrote a letter to Otto Kallir, the owner of the Galerie St. Etienne in Manhattan, beseeching him for help. She was still trying to reclaim a 1912 painting by Egon Schiele of his mistress, Wally, that she had left behind in Vienna.The letter, written in German, recounts how a Nazi art dealer named Friedrich Welz had come to her home, where the painting hung, and pressed her to give it to him. It refers to the Belvedere, part of Austria's National Gallery:''He didn't stop urging me in a very unpleasant way until my husband told me: 'Why don't you give in? We may want to leave already tomorrow, and don't make any difficulties. You know what he can do.' So it first came into the property of Welz.''When I first took back my gallery in 1946, I asked Welz what happened to my picture, and he told me that it was confiscated with the other pictures and that it was in the Belvedere.''The letter continues: ''There was nothing to do. I had to go urgently back to London.'' (English)
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    This protracted dispute stems from the alleged theft of Portrait of Wally ("Wally" or "the Painting"), a painting by renowned Austrian artist Egon Schiele, from Lea Bondi Jaray ("Bondi"). The Government, and Bondi's Estate (the "Estate"), contend that after the Germans occupied Austria in 1938, Friedrich Welz, a Nazi, stole Wally from Bondi, a Jewish owner of a Viennese art gallery, and the Painting has remained stolen property ever since. The Government and the Estate further assert that claimant the Leopold Museum (the "Museum"), knowing Wally was stolen or converted, nonetheless shipped it into this country in violation of the National Stolen Property Act ("NSPA"), 18 U.S.C. § 2314 (1994), thereby rendering the Painting subject to civil forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 545, 19 U.S.C. § 1595(a) (c), and 22 U.S.C. § 401(a). (English)
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