Judge: Enough evidence for Schiele trial

Oct. 7, 2009 at 3:39 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- There is enough evidence in a dispute over who owns the Egon Schiele masterpiece "Portrait of Wally" to send the case to trial, a U.S. judge says.

U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska ruled Tuesday that a trial should be held on allegations that a Vienna art museum knew the painting had been looted by the Nazis from its Jewish owners, the New York Daily News reported.

Preska said in her ruling that it appears Vienna's Leopold Museum knew of the painting's history when it was loaned to New York's Museum of Modern Art 12 years ago. It has sat in storage since the heirs of Lea Bondi Jaray sued, alleging that "Portrait of Wally" was stolen by Nazis from the gallery owner during the Holocaust, eventually ending up at the Leopold, the newspaper said.

The painting, which depicts Schiele's model and mistress Wally Neuzil, is estimated to be worth $2 million, the Daily News said.

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