TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund announces Neue Galerie New York and Royal Museum Of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) as 2023 Beneficiaries

Jan 26, 2023 Maastricht, The Netherlands

Maastricht, January 26th 2023 – TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation) is pleased to announce that Neue Galerie New York, USA and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA), Belgium are the recipients of this year’s TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund (TMRF), an annual grant created in support of the international art community’s vital work to preserve artistic and cultural heritage.

With TEFAF’s funding, Neue Galerie New York will restore Egon Schiele’s (1890-1918) Town among Greenery (The Old City III) (1917), a piece the museum received as a gift in 2006. It previously spent 70 years in the private family collection of Otto and Marguerite Manley, important collectors who escaped Vienna in 1937, to whom authorities agreed to ship the painting to the United States in 1948 on the condition that it could be included in the Venice Biennale.

Egon Schiele Town Among Greenery 1917 jpg 1

Egon Schiele’s Town among Greenery (The Old City III) (1917)

This oil on canvas work is viewed as one of Schiele’s most significant landscapes and was among his last paintings completed before his death. The composition features brushy greenery, framing an overhead view of a medieval townscape—probably an imaginary interpretation of the Austrian city of Krumau, his mother’s birthplace—complete with colourful façades and figures enlivening the narrow streets of this densely packed vignette. The inclusion of figures in a landscape painting is unusual for Schiele.

The Schiele restoration will stabilise the surface of the painting. Funding from TEFAF will additionally support a scientific study of this picture in comparison with other Schiele landscapes to understand why he added them in select pictures toward the end of his career.

Renée Price, Director of Neue Galerie New York, commented, “Egon Schiele completed Town among Greenery about a year before his death in October 1918, and it is an exceptional and unusual example of the Austrian Expressionist's landscape paintings. All of us at the Neue Galerie are so grateful to receive this grant from the TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund. The restoration of Town among Greenery ensures that the Neue Galerie will be able to preserve and safely present this extraordinary work by Schiele for many years to come."

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp will use TEFAF’s funding to restore Michaelina Wautier’s (1604–1689) Two Girls as Saints Agnes and Dorothea (c.1650), a piece the gallery has had in its possession since 1910. Though Wautier was held in high regard during her lifetime, the painting’s provenance saw it initially attributed to an anonymous master before being given to Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert (1614-1654). It was not until 2003 that P-Y Kairis demonstrated on stylistic grounds that it is most definitely by Wautier.

Michaelina Wautier’s Two Girls as Saints Agnes and Dorothea (c.1650)

Michaelina Wautier’s Two Girls as Saints Agnes and Dorothea (c.1650)

The portrait historié is synonymous with Wautier’s refusal to content herself with the domestic subjects female artists were confined to studying during the period. The blonde girl stroking a lamb plays the part of St Agnes, whilst the other girl laying roses around a basket of apples and holding a martyr’s palm in her left hand is St Dorothy.

The restoration, which is the second to be carried out on the work, will address areas of deformation and denting on the painting’s surface, as well as burn marks and the painting’s varnish having yellowed in recent years. Conservation efforts will include preliminary investigation and documentation, before taking measures including the consolidation of paint layers, dusting and surface cleaning, structural treatment, filling and retouching, amongst others.

Carmen Willems, General Director of Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, commented, “In the 17th century Michaelina Wautier made a name for herself as an artist of widely varied genres. She did not limit herself to classically feminine subjects such as still life or portraits. Since the early 2000s, Wautier has begun to regain renown. It is only natural that she is also prominently displayed in the museum among works by her contemporaries. This year, we are restoring Two Girls together with Wautier's Portrait of a Young Man. Treating works by the same artist at the same time has previously proven to add value to research and restoration projects.”

Hidde van Seggelen, President of TEFAF commented, “Ensuring works of art are preserved for the benefit of generations to come is one of the founding principles behind TEFAF’s Museum Restoration Fund, and we are delighted to be supporting these two wonderful projects in 2023. To have the work of one of the great Austrian Expressionist painters conserved, alongside an outstanding Baroque artist, speaks to the incredibly important role played by the Museum Restoration Fund in reinforcing TEFAF’s commitment to scholarship and academia across the art historical cannon.”

TMRF 2023 events programme will include a digital presentation of Wautier’s Two Girls as Saints Agnes and Dorothea at TEFAF Maastricht in March and a dedicated TEFAF Talk in collaboration with the International Council of Museums (ICOM-CC), both of which are supported by Aon, the TMRF Maastricht Fair Partner.


The TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund was established in 2012 to support and promote professional restoration and related scholarly research of significant museum art works. Championing art in all its forms, applications for its grants are open to museums from all over the world and art works from any age. Each year, a maximum of €50,000 will be allocated to projects. The committee of independent experts usually selects two winners to each receive a maximum of €25,000 to support their restoration project.


Neue Galerie New York is a museum devoted to early twentieth-century Austrian and German art and design. Located on New York City's Museum Mile, the Neue Galerie presents special temporary exhibitions that rotate throughout the year. The museum was conceived by two men who enjoyed a close friendship over a period of nearly thirty years: art dealer and museum exhibition organizer, Serge Sabarsky and Ronald S. Lauder. Sabarsky and Lauder shared a passionate commitment to modern Austrian and German art, and dreamed of opening a museum to showcase the finest examples of this work. After Sabarsky died in 1996, Lauder carried on the vision of creating Neue Galerie New York. The museum’s name (which means “new gallery”) has its historical roots in various European institutions, artists’ associations, and commercial galleries, foremost the Neue Galerie in Vienna, founded in 1923 by Otto Kallir. All sought to capture the innovative, modern spirit they discovered and pursued at the turn of the twentieth century.


The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) is the largest art museum in Flanders. With absolute masterpieces from the Flemish primitives and the Antwerp Baroque to an extensive collection of modern art with Rik Wouters, Henri de Braekeleer and René Magritte. The museum offers two worlds in one, with old masters in the historic galleries and modern masters in the new volume. The jewel in the crown is the largest collection of works by James Ensor in the world. He represents the pivotal point between the two worlds. KMSKA has also devised a varied program of activities that focuses on experiencing. There is something for every taste: digital or analogue, for young and old, to feel or to do. Being a creative hub, we are actively working on crossovers with the broad cultural sector. Along the way, fortuitously, we generate The Finest Feeling, the guiding principle in everything we do.


TEFAF is a not-for-profit foundation that champions expertise and diversity in the global art community, evidenced in the exhibitors selected for its two fairs, which take place annually in Maastricht and New York. TEFAF acts as an expert guide for both private and institutional collectors, which inspires lovers and buyers of art everywhere.


TEFAF Maastricht is widely regarded as the world’s premier fair for fine art, antiques, and design. Featuring over 240 prestigious dealers from some 20 countries, TEFAF Maastricht is a showcase for the finest art works currently on the market. Alongside the traditional areas of Old Master paintings, antiques, and classical antiquities that cover approximately half of the fair, you can also find modern and contemporary art, photography, jewelry, 20th century design, and works on paper.


TEFAF New York was founded in early 2016, originally as two annual art fairs in New York at the Park Avenue Armory. Today, TEFAF New York is one singular, annual fair that encapsulates modern and contemporary art, jewelry, antiques, and design, featuring around 90 leading exhibitors from around the globe. Tom Postma Design, celebrated for its work with leading museums, galleries, and art fairs, is responsible for the fair’s innovative design which has reimagined the spectacular spaces at the historic Park Avenue Armory, giving them a lighter, contemporary look and feel.


TEFAF and AXA XL, its Lead Partner for TEFAF Maastricht, share the view that there's more to art than meets the eye.

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