This was part of a City weekend break I took with my wife this weekend, 27 – 30 Jan 2017 as a 50th Birthday celebration for my wife.
As a young and aspiring artist Scheile was very much influenced by Klimt in his early development and Scheile and Klimt become good friends. Scheile exchanged drawing with Klimt – Klimt once said to Scheile, “Why do you want my pictures when yours are so much better?” Later Scheile took a new direction in his style but remained close friends to Klimt. Although Klimt was older than Scheile they both died in the same year, 1918. A terrible year for the loss of many artists as a result of the Spanish Flu epidemic which took Scheile, his wife and unborn child.
My favorite picture was of a good friend and lover Walburga (Wally) Neuzil Portrait of Wally who had been there for him when he most needed a friend which was during his darkest period when he had been arrested and imprisoned for producing immoral pictures and falsely accused of trying to morally corrupt young people. She was at that time a relatively new acquaintance but of all his friend only she had rallied and helped build a case for his defense and provided him with paints, brushes and even oranges. He was later released the charges dropped.
The painting has it’s own story as well. It was bought by a Jewish art dealer Lea Bondi Jaray who had to flee Austria when Germany annexed the country. The Art Dealer escaped to London and lived their until her death in 1969. In the meantime this picture had been confiscated by a local Nazi and kept it for himself. However, with the fall of Austria and Germany and the end of the war the picture found it’s way in to the hands of the liberating US Army who not knowing who it belonged to gave it to the Austrian government where it was displayed at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna. It was later lent to MOMA in New York where it was instantly impounded by the New York authorities when members of the Art Dealer’s family demanded it back. A court case eventually confirmed that it was the property of the Art Dealer’s family who sold it back to the Belvedere Museum