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A drawing from Oberlin College's art museum is seized as part of a NY investigation

Exterior of the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College.
The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College acquired "Girl with Black Hair" in 1958.

A work of art from Oberlin’s Allen Memorial Art Museum has been alleged stolen by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The news of its seizure comes just two weeks after a warrant was issued for a Cleveland Museum of Art statue.

“Girl with Black Hair,” a drawing by Austrian artist Egon Schiele, has been seized in place until it can be transported properly to New York, according to a press representative with the Manhattan DA's office. The warrant noted the watercolor and pencil drawing is signed and dated 1911, and the artwork is valued at around $1.5 million.

Girl with Black Hair
Egon Schiele
Officials at Oberlin College say they are "confident" Egon Schiele's "Girl with Black Hair" was acquired legally.

Oberlin College officials do not believe the school is the “target” of the New York investigation and said via an emailed statement, “We are confident that Oberlin College legally acquired Egon Schiele’s Girl with Black Hair in 1958, and that we lawfully possess it. We are cooperating with the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal investigation.”

The Associated Press reports the artwork from Oberlin and two other Egon Schiele works are believed to have been previously owned by Fritz Grünbaum and taken from the cabaret performer during the Holocaust.

The other two works were seized this week from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

In August, a headless statue worth $20 million was seized as part of a New York investigation involving “antiquities looted from Bubon in Turkiye and trafficked through Manhattan,” according to the Manhattan DA’s office. The 76-inch statue came to Cleveland in 1986. The ancient Roman bronze sculpture has been thought to depict emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Notes about the Egon Schiele artwork on the Allen Memorial Art Museum’s website indicate this drawing might have been a preparatory work for another painting of the same model. The artist died at age 28 in 1918.

Carrie Wise is the deputy editor of arts and culture at Ideastream Public Media.