Sharon Cohen Levin, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office
Asset Forfeiture Unit, will speak about the recovery of Egon Schiele’s
‘Portrait of Wally’ at this Friday’s presentation.
November 3, 2014, Jersey City, NJ – On Friday, November 7, 2014 at noon,
Sharon Cohen Levin, the Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the U.S.
Attorney’s Office, will relate a story with so many twists and turns it was made into a movie. Ms. Levin will
speak about the recovery of the 1912 Egon Schiele oil painting Portrait of Wally, and her role in the
resolution of the case of United States v. Portrait of Wally
Ms. Levin will be the guest speaker at the Fall 2014 presentation of
Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Foundation “Arts Talk Series.” The event
will be held in the Follett Room of the College’s Culinary Conference Center,
161 Newkirk Street in Jersey City – just two blocks from the Journal Square
PATH Transportation Center.
Sharon Cohen Levin has played an important role in securing the return
of numerous antiquities and cultural icons to foreign governments, as well as
works of art and other cultural properties to their rightful owners and the families
of the rightful owners.
Many of the pieces – like the Portrait
of Wally – were stolen, or forcefully bought by the Nazis from Holocaust
victims in the time preceding and during World War II.
Portrait of Wally
tenderly depicts one of Schiele’s lovers and
most frequently used models, Valerie “Wally” Neuzil. The work had been owned by
Lea Bondi Jaray, who was forced to give it up while fleeing the German
annexation of the Austria and Aryanization program in 1939.
Ms. Levin will describe the 13-year court battles that ensued while resolving
the case, which is largely credited for focusing the attention on the return of
A pioneer in the use of federal forfeiture laws to recover and return
stolen art and cultural heritage property, Sharon Cohen Levin and her
associates in the Southern District of New York Asset Forfeiture Unit, have
recovered nearly $6 billion in crime proceeds in the past six years. The works
of art have included paintings by Winslow Homer, Roy Lichtenstein and Anton Graff,
drawings by Rembrandt and Dürer, statues and artifact dating back to 490 B.C.,
and a Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton looted from the Gobi desert.
Those wishing additional information about the event – as well as those
who wish to R.S.V.P. – are asked to contact Dr. Andrea Siegel, the Art
Coordinator of the HCCC Foundation Art Collection, by
phoning 201-360-4007 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #
“Arts Talk” is a presentation
of the HCCC Foundation Art Collection. E
eight years ago to coincide with the initiation of the College’s Fine Arts
studies program, the Collection is intended to enrich the lives of the
community while providing a point of reference and inspiration for the HCCC students.
The HCCC Foundation Collection’s
works of art – over 800 paintings, lithographs, photographs, sculptures, and
other pieces – are displayed throughout all of the buildings on the College’s
Journal Square Campus in Jersey City and at the North Hudson Higher Education
Center in Union City. Included are works by Donald Baechler, Leonard Baskin, Elizabeth
Catlett, Christo, Willie Cole, Edward S. Curtis, Marcel Duchamp, Lisa Parker
Hyatt, Rockwell Kent, Joseph Kosuth, Valeri Larko, Roy Lichtenstein, Reginald
Marsh, Méret Oppenheim, Robert Rauschenberg, Man Ray, Mickalene Thomas, and
The HCCC Foundation Art
Collection and “Arts Talk” are made possible thanks to the generosity of HCCC Foundation
benefactors. Several pieces have been directly donated by individuals, estates,
corporations, and other organizations.