Fight Over Nazi Art Theft Comes to Big Screen
A movie opens tonight at the Violet Crown Cinema that encompasses history, villainy, tragedy, triumph and a great deal of poignancy. It’s a sort of detective story that follows efforts over seven decades to prove the ownership of a piece of looted Nazi art.
The film, Portrait of Wally, was directed by Andrew Shea, associate professor of Radio, Television and Film at the University of Texas. He spoke with KUT’s Emily Donahue about the conflicting interests battling over the painting.
The museum community, including the Jewish Museum in New York, lined up behind the Museum of Modern Art and supported its argument that if this case were successful, that it would jeopardize the future of international art lending. I don’t think it’s an argument that’s been entirely discredited, or has gone away as a result of this case. But we’re talking about a Holocaust property crime; really, the movie’s about the right and wrong here — whether the morality of returning this stolen painting trumps the institutional needs of these large art institutions.