Lányi, Richard

Richard Lányi


9 December 1884 Vienna – 28 May 1942 Auschwitz concentration camp

until 1909 Richard Löwy

Richard Lányi was born in Vienna as a Hungarian citizen on 9 December 1884. He originally had the surname Löwy. His parents Leopold Löwy and Johanna, née Spitzer, were from Pressburg, at the time administered by Hungary. After marrying Anna Bartos in 1909, the couple changed their surname to Lányi. They had no children. Richard Lányi completed training as a bookseller at Buchhandlung Robert Friedländer at Kärntnerstraße 44 in Vienna's 1st district. After the owner died in 1912, he took over the bookstore and continued to run it under his own name. He had a bargain basement, an event agency and a publishing company, all three specializing in Karl Kraus. The first documented publication was a portfolio of twelve drawings by Egon Schiele in their original size, issued in 1917. In subsequent years he produced a further thirty-four pictures by Schiele as postcards. He himself owned some works by him. Lányi was Jewish and already subject to Nazi baiting in 1934 in the magazine Der Stürmer. After the annexation in 1938, his business was closed for several days by the Gestapo. It also seized some of his stocks, forcing Lányi to file for bankruptcy. The bookseller Johann Katzler purchased the bankruptcy estate at a low price. The company was not Aryanized, however. Before the bankruptcy proceedings were opened, Katzler removed books and artworks from the premises, as one of Lányi's employees later testified to the Volksgericht. Katzler incorporated Lányi's assets along with those of five other bookstores in Vienna into Buchhandlung Alois Reichmann, which had been Aryanized by him. Because of the pending bankruptcy proceedings, Lányi was not able to escape abroad, as he had planned. He was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 February 1942 and deported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered three months later. After the war, his widow Anna, who was deemed "Aryan" under the Nuremberg laws and was not directly affected by the Nazi persecution, successfully claimed restitution of her husband's expropriated art collection under the Second Restitution Act. A four-page typed list in the file of the Finanzprokuratur (Office of the Financial Procurator) gives details of the artworks still held by the company in 1945. Lányi's collection contained both oil paintings and prints, including works by Albert Paris Gütersloh and Richard Teschner.

Richard Lányi's biography was researched as part of the general provenance research by the Federal Chancellery and Leopold Museum Privatstiftung on Egon Schiele's painting The Revelation, 1911, LM inv. no. 477. This picture had also been part of Richard Lányi's collection. On the basis of personal recollections of the subsequent owner, it was ultimately assumed that Richard Lányi had already sold the painting before 1938 to a private collector and that the Art Restitution Act was not therefore applicable in this case.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Murray Hall, Richard Lányi, (Wien), in: Österreichische Verlagsgeschichte 1918–1938, URL: www.verlagsgeschichte.murrayhall.com/?page_id=357 (3.12.2020).

Sonja Niederacher, Dossier Provenienzforschung bm:ukk – LMP, Richard Lanyi, 21.12.2009, URL: www.bmkoes.gv.at/dam/jcr:2d092829-c6e9-43ae-9073-f8d77cb1d219/dossier_lanyi.pdf (3.12.2020).

N. N., Die Verjudung des Buchhandels, in: Der Stürmer, 7.10.1934.

Friedrich Pfäfflin (Hg.), Richard Lányi. I. Im Verlag der Buchhandlung 1917–1938 (= Bibliothek Janowitz 11), Warmbronn 2006.
Friedrich Pfäfflin (Hg.), Richard Lányi. II. Verlegerbriefe im Schein der 'Fackel' 1905–1938 (= Bibliothek Janowitz 12), Warmbronn 2006.

Claudia Reitmayr, "Arisierung" im Wiener Buchdrucks-Verlagswesen anhand zweier Fallbeispiele. Die Druckerei "Jahoda & Siegel" und der Verlag "Richard Lányi", Diplomarbeit Universität Wien 2004.

Arthur Roessler (Hg.), In Memoriam Egon Schiele, Wien 1921.
Arthur Roessler (Hg.), Egon Schiele: Briefe und Prosa, Wien 1921.

Publications by the person / institution

Zeichnungen Egon Schiele 1917 im Verlage der Buchhandlung Richard Lányi Wien [Mappe mit Zeichnungsreproduktionen], Wien 1917.


DÖW, Erkennungsdienstliche Kartei der Gestapo Wien.

OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, VA 5193, Richard Lányi.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, H 7830, Arisierungsakt Buchhandung Richard Lányi.
OeStA/AdR, FIPRO VI-2, 5.033, Anna Lányi u.a. gegen Republik Österreich, Rückstellungsantrag.

ITS Digital Archive, Bad Arolsen,1154/42,, Karteikarte Richard Lanyi.

WStLA, M. Abt.119, A 41, BG Wien I, Bescheid der FLD über Rückstellung.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg Vr-Strafakten, VgVr 5194/46, Johann Katzler.