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Leopold Museum Announces Favorable Conclusion Over Egon Schiele Painting Dispute
Haeuser am Meer (Houses by the sea), by Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918). Photo: EPA.
VIENNA.- The Leopold Museum Private Foundation announced that negotiations in the case Jenny Steiner / ”Häuser am Meer” have reached a favorable conclusion: Following strenuous efforts, a settlement has been reached with the only granddaughter of Jenny Steiner. The Leopold Museum Private Foundation has pledged to pay Jenny Steiner’s heir the sum of 5 million dollars for her 1/3 share.

The Leopold Museum is delighted that this important settlement in the case “Häuser am Meer” could be reached with the sole living heir of Jenny Steiner. Both the Board of Directors of the foundation and the heir’s representative, attorney-at-law Dr. Alfred Noll, call this settlement “a fair and just solution”. Both parties have made concessionsin order to reach this final settlement.

Eugenie “Jenny” Steiner, née Pulitzer (*1863 Budapest †1958 New York), was the owner of a silk factory and an avid art collector. In 1938, immediately after the annexation of Austria, she fled from the National Socialists to Paris and later emigrated to the US. Egon Schiele’s urban landscape “Houses by the Sea” (1914), a painting from Jenny Steiner’s collection, was seized and sold by the National Socialists in 1938. It was put up for auction at the Dorotheum in 1940, but initially attracted no buyers. It was again put up for auction at the Dorotheum in 1941 and was acquired by Josefine Ernst. Her son, Johann Ernst, then sold the painting in 1955 to Rudolf Leopold. For Rudolf Leopold, who successfully promoted Egon Schiele’s oeuvre throughout his life, the painting “Houses by the Sea” formed an integral part of the Leopold Collection.

Since the painting is doubtlessly the property of the Leopold Museum Private Foundation, but since it was also clearly confiscated from Jenny Steiner in 1938, it was of vital importance to the Leopold Museum to come to a mutual agreement with the heirs of Jenny Steiner. Following lengthy negotiations, it has been possible to arrive at this fair and just solution.

The heir is to be thanked for her willingness to contribute to this favorable solution. The settlement could not have been reached had it not also been for Elisabeth and Diethard Leopold’s untiring efforts and their willingness to personally conduct negotiations. Elisabeth Leopold has described the present settlement as the fulfillment of a longstanding wish of her late husband, who passed away last year.

Presented along with an explanatory text, the painting will once more be made accessible to the public as an integral part of the Leopold Museum’s permanent exhibition, serving as a reminder of the work’s stirring history and as a memorial to Jenny Steiner.

Comment on the painting »Häuser am Meer« released by the granddaughter of Jenny Steiner and the Leopold Museum Private Foundation

Eugenie “Jenny” Steiner, née Pulitzer (* 1863 Budapest + 1958 New York), was the owner of a silk factory and an avid art collector. In 1938, immediately after the annexation of Austria, she fled from the National Socialists to Paris and later emigrated to the US. Egon Schiele’s urban landscape “Houses by the Sea” (1914), a painting from Jenny Steiner’s collection, was seized and sold by the National Socialists in 1938. It was put up for auction at the Dorotheum in 1940, but initially attracted no buyers.

It was again put up for auction at the Dorotheum in 1941 and was acquired by Josefine Ernst. Her son, Johann Ernst, then sold the painting in 1955 to Rudolf Leopold. For Rudolf Leopold, who successfully promoted Egon Schiele’s oeuvre throughout his life, the painting “Houses by the Sea” formed an integral part of the Leopold Collection.

Since the painting is doubtlessly the property of the Leopold Museum Private Foundation, but since it was also clearly confiscated from Jenny Steiner in 1938, it was of vital importance to the Leopold Museum to come to a mutual agreement with the heirs of Jenny Steiner. Following lengthy negotiations, it has been possible to arrive at this fair and just solution.





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