Portrait of Wally (1912) is among Egon Schiele's best known paintings. The artist became infatuated with her, and they were lovers for several years thereafter. Neuzil also acted as Schiele's model. Public reaction to their relationship was strongly negative, especially as a number of other teenage girls modelled for Schiele, and the artist was driven out of one town by residents.
Portrait of Wally can be seen as a companion piece to Schiele's Self-Portrait with Chinese Lantern and Fruit, which dates from the same year. However, the artist's relationship with Neuzil came to an abrupt end in 1915 when she discovered he was planning to marry someone else. When Schiele died from influenza three years later, the painting passed through several owners before ending up with art dealer Friedrich Welz. Welz was captured by the U.S. Army in 1945 and Portrait of Wally was given to the restored Austrian government.
Prolific art collector Rudolf Leopold bought the painting in 1954, and held onto it for four decades, rejecting all offers to buy the work. During this time, controversy arose when it was claimed by the heirs of Lee Bondi Jaray, who had owned the painting before World War Two. The row simmered on for many years, and in 1994 the Austrian government retrieved Portrait of Wally as part of their $500 million purchase of Leopold's entire collection.
The painting became part of the Leopold Museum, where it remains on display. The dispute with Jaray was finally brought to an end in 2010, when the museum agreed a $19 million settlement with his remaining heirs.