Group of Artists Challenge Rudolf Leopold to Restitution

Der Standard (04/15/2010)

Vienna – Numerous galleries are focusing on submitting artwork for an event entitled, “Vienna Paintings.” The Leopold Museum is participating as well. On the occasion of the exhibition, “Hidden Treasures of Austrian Water Color Paintings,” painters of water color have been invited to participate in a competition. Deadline for submitting their works is April. As main prize, the winner will be offered the opportunity of having five of his/her art works purchased.

The “fifty best paintings,” selected by a jury, will be presented in the atrium of the Leopold Museum. The private viewing, however, was postponed at the last minute until May 5. Arye Wachsmuth who, under the motto, “first pay, then paint,” animated twelve of his friends to participate, who are highly curious as to whether one of their paintings will be recognized as being worthy of exhibition or worthy of even being purchased at all.

As Wachsmuth commented to der Standard, by submitting art work, the artists are making an issue of how one has dealt thus far with NS confiscated art. In an accompanying letter, a challenge was sent to director Rudolf Leopold to “return Egon Schiele’s “Wally” painting to the heirs of Lea Bondi-Jaray and “Houses At the Sea” to the heirs of Jenny Steiner! There should be no dealing-making involved when restituting seized art!”

Press speaker Klaus Pokorny assured that “all of the submitted works would be dealt with equally,” signaling understanding for the criticism. All twenty-four of the works submitted by Georgia Crimer, Titanilla Eisenhart, Mina Mohandes and Franz Schubert, among others, will be shown on Facebook under “first pay, then paint.” One hopes for active participation of many more artists.