The Art Newspaper has this succinct explanation of why Austria’s Leopold Museum has finally–after 13 years–settled over its Schiele portrait:
At the end of the war, US armed forces returned the painting to the Austrian government to be restituted to its proper owner, but the portrait ended up at the Austrian National Gallery (ANG). According to the US confiscation suit, in 1953, Dr Rudolph Leopold, an Austrian collector of works by Schiele, learned from Jaray that her painting was at the ANG, but rather than helping her retrieve it as he told her he would, Leopold obtained it for himself. Jaray’s effort to recover the work from Leopold did not succeed in her lifetime, and the work passed with Leopold’s other art to the Leopold Museum in 1994.
The sole issue left for trial was whether the Leopold Museum could prove that Dr Leopold did not know the painting was stolen when it entered the US for the 1997 loan show. This would have required overturning evidence by the US that he did.
Portrait of Wally Case Settled for $19m (The Art Newspaper)