Collector awarded Schiele drawing

Boston Globe 4 September 2008
By Geoff Edgers

Chestnut Hill art collector David Bakalar has been declared the rightful owner of an Egon Schiele drawing by US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III. The judgment, filed this week in New York, clears the way for Bakalar to sell the 1917 drawing known as "Seated Woman with Bent Left Leg."

Two heirs of the Fritz Grunbaum's estate contested that the work was theirs because it had been seized by the Nazis. Grunbaum was a Jewish cabaret performer in Vienna who was arrested and died in a concentration camp in 1941. The painting was bought by Bakalar in 1963.

Pauley, in his ruling, declared that the defendants "have not produced any concrete evidence that the Nazis looted" the drawing. Bakalar, who declined to comment through his attorney, sued to be recognized as the rightful owner in 2005 when Sotheby's in London froze the sale of the work for $725,000 after the Grunbaum heirs put in a claim.

James A. Janowitz, Bakalar's attorney, said Bakalar may now sell the work. "He was in the process of doing it last time around and I don't know if that's changed," said Janowitz.

When asked if he would appeal the case, Raymond J. Dowd, who represents the Grunbaum heirs, said "we're studying our options."

Geoff Edgers can be reached at
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