Portrait of Wally
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Portrait of Wally, Egon Schiele's tender picture 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. Portrait of Wally 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 post-war confusion and subterfuge that… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An account of greed, betrayal, culpability and self-serving moral relativism."
‑ Geoff Pevere, Globe and Mail
"By showing how difficult and problematic righting a wrong can turn out to be, "Portrait of Wally" does itself proud."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"The story is compelling, and the fallout of the 13-year legal battle over Portrait of Wally not only established important legal precedence regarding art looted from Holocaust victims, but also caused some soul-searching in the museum world."
‑ Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Austin American-Statesman
"For such a winding, research-heavy piece, Portrait of Wally moves at a brisk clip, with Gary Lionelli's agitated score lending the film the breathless quality of a police procedural."
‑ Kimberley Jones, Austin Chronicle
"...the journey of just one of many, many thousands of Nazi plundered art works and its rightful return to its owner."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"Although the film at times moves through the evidence at an impossibly fast clip, the response of MoMa will doubtlessly resonate."
‑ Lavanya Ramanathan, Washington Post
"The material's not so rich and complex that the documentary doesn't feel padded at 90 minutes."
‑ Mark Feeney, Boston Globe
"The journey of the painting, and the Bondi family's efforts to reclaim it, are the meaty subject of Andrew Shea's engrossing documentary."
‑ Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto
"Portrait of Wally reminds us that nearly 70 years after the war, some lessons of the Holocaust have yet to sink in."
‑ Daniel M. Kimmel, The Jewish Advocate
"...would make a great double bill with "The Art of the Steal," another documentary which exposes the ruthless greed and obsessions which power the world of public art exhibition."
‑ Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"It's a fascinating story, even as Shea's film sometimes tells it in a slightly convoluted way."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"A painting's provenance matters, and so does this portrait of Portrait of Wally."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"The film's troubling take on the moral flexibilities of the art world may also have viewers wondering about the provenance of what they see on museum walls."
‑ Jason Anderson, The Grid
"Wally sputters to an unremarkable conclusion."
‑ Miles Howard, Boston Phoenix
"A complex legal controversy is made enthralling and not infrequently shocking."
‑ Mark R. Leeper, Mark Leeper's Reviews
More reviews for Portrait of Wally on Rotten Tomatoes