Stefan Poglayen-Neuwall was an Austrian-Italian journalist and art historian. After being orphaned at the age of three, he was adopted by his aunt Henriette Freiin von Neuwall. In 1913 he was awarded a doctorate for his dissertation An old Christian wedding casket from the Esquiline Treasure. He wrote articles for art magazines in Austria, Germany and Italy and was general agent for the monthly magazine Weltkunst. After the annexation of Austria to the German Reich in 1938, although an Italian citizen, he feared that his Austrian assets would be seized on account of his Jewish grandparents. He therefore left his Vienna apartment and fled in April 1939 to Italy. Prior to this, in December 1938, he offered the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien (now Wien Museum) his Biedermeier bedroom furniture. Knowing about his Jewish grandparents, the director Karl Wagner warned him that "it was up to him how the museum acquired the furniture". Poglayen-Neuwall therefore felt obliged to sell it at far less than its real value. In 1939, he also sold two picture frames to the Staatliches Kunstgewerbemuseum in Vienna, the future Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst (now MAK) because of his desperate situation. He lived as an émigré in Rome, where he earned a living as a language teacher and translator.
In 1948 he returned to Vienna and consulted Viktor Matejka, municipal councillor for cultural affairs, to seek compensation for the bedroom furniture he had been forced to sell at below its actual value. As Karl Wagner, who was still director of the Historisches Museum, denied that the sale had been coerced, an agreement could not be reached. It was only during the systematic provenance research in the Wien Museum that in 2003 the Vienna Restitution Commission decided that the Biedermeier furniture still in the Wien Museum should be returned to the legal successors of Stefan Poglayen-Neuwall. In 2012 the Austrian Art Restitution Advisory Board recommended restitution of the two picture frames in the MAK.