The gilt Art Nouveau rotary hotline here at Soho the Dog HQ lit up this morning with Geoff Edgers providing detailed background on the continuing dispute over Oskar Kokoschka's 1913 painting "Two Nudes." Boston's Museum of Fine Arts has filed suit in US District Court to establish ownership of the work over the claims of Claudia Seger-Thomschitz, the Austrian heir of Jewish art collector Oskar Reichel, whose 1939 sale of the painting may or may not have been the result of Nazi pressure.
An intriguing story, both for considering the problematic nature of drawing a nuanced line between personal exigency and external duress in situations of organized cruelty, and, it must be said, for how fast any nuance whatsoever flies out the window once attorneys start talking to the press. But what's the classical music angle? Naked pictures of Alma Mahler.
That's her on the right, with Oskar next to her, displaying just the sort of wistful apprehension I imagine most of her lovers displayed when she would insist on going "off the trail" during their walks through the woods. The historians Geoff interviewed are of the opinion that the MFA doth protest too much, but regardless of the outcome, there's a certain ad rem poetry in Alma's affairs necessitating a legal untangling. (Incidentally: does every single piece of Nazi-looted art have some connection with Alma Mahler? It is not outside the realm of possibility.)
Update (5/28): Geoff passes along further adventures of Alma and Oskar. John Waters should totally get his hands on this story.