Schebesta, Kunsthandlung

Kunsthandlung Schebesta

Blick in einen Raum mit Kronleuchter, Gemälden und Sitzmöbeln, Schwarz-Weiß-Foto

other names: Franz Schebesta's Erben, Galerie Schebesta, Kunsthandlung Franz Schebesta's Erben

Franz Schebesta (né Šebesta, also Sebesta) registered his antiques dealership on 26 September 1936 at Dorotheergasse 7/12 in Vienna's 1st district. From 1939 it was located at Plankengasse 7, also in the 1st district. The art dealership, where his wife Maria, née Schleimer, also worked, mainly handled works by nineteenth-century Austrian artists, but also paintings by Mihály von Munkácsy and Julian Fałat. After the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, Franz Schebesta succeeded in 1938 on behalf of some of his business colleagues, including the shipping and furniture transport company A. Schäfer liquidated in 1939 and the Brno antiques dealer Vladimir Seidl, to arrange the export of porcelain and art objects. There is no indication that Schebesta himself gain financially from this. In December 1938, however, he paid 380 reichsmarks for the furniture and fittings of a business in Plankengasse, which had been liquidated because of the Jewish origins of its owner Heinrich Rubel (1881–1947). In 1941 the State Arts and Crafts Museum in Vienna (now MAK) acquired from Schebesta four statuettes modelled by the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory. It is unclear from whom and in what way he had obtained these figures. From early summer 1944, Schebesta's art objects were stored in the Schleimer-Haus in Raabs an der Thaya. In the last days of the war, the Viennese art dealer Josef Kuderna stole some jugs and plates from Franz Schebesta's son Theodor, and art objects from the Vienna premises were also removed by unknown perpetrators. Following a denunciation of Franz Schebesta by the radio dealer Josef Pany from Raabs for wearing a red-white-red armband, SS members executed him in the night of 9 May 1945 and severely injured his son. In 1946 the Volksgericht in Vienna sentenced Pany under Section 1.2 and 1.4 and Section 13 of the War Criminals Act to twelve years' imprisonment and loss of assets. Schebesta's widow continued the business until March 1963 and then handed over the trade in antiques and original pictures to Theodor Schebesta. The gallery existed until 31 December 1979, but there appear to be no company records.

In the 1950s and 1960s Kunsthandlung Schebesta was involved in eleven sales to the Albertina in Vienna and the acquisition and exchange of around fifty art objects from the Österreichische Galerie (ÖG). During the systematic provenance research into acquisitions by the ÖG, Kunsthandlung Schebesta appeared frequently, but there have not been any indications to date that objects were expropriated as a result of Nazi persecution. For example, a painting by the artist Josef Feid entitled Der Hintere Langbathsee, whose previous provenance has not been clarified, was acquired in 1965 in an exchange with Schebesta. Moreover, Schebesta had business relations with Galerie Sanct Lucas in Vienna, with which it jointly purchased various artworks, including a painting by Theodor Hörmann inventoried in the ÖG in 1957. In 2012 the Art Restitution Advisory Board failed to recommend its restitution to Lotte Heissfeld and Valerie Heissfeld. Nor did it recommend the restitution in 2005 and 2009 of paintings from the Viennese collections belonging to Wilhelm Kuffner and Gottfried and Hermann Eissler, which had been acquired by the ÖG in 1953 and 1955, respectively, via Schebesta.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Beiratsbeschluss Camilla Kuffner, 14.12.2005, URL: (17.8.2021).
Beiratsbeschluss Hermann Eissler, 24.6.2009, URL: (17.8.2021).
Beiratsbeschluss Lotte und Valerie Heissfeld, 2.3.2012, URL: (17.8.2021).

Hellmut Butterweck, Nationalsozialisten vor dem Volksgericht Wien. Österreichs Ringen um Gerechtigkeit 1945–1955 in der zeitgenössischen öffentlichen Wahrnehmung, Innsbruck 2026, Fall 46W128, o. S.

Kunstdatenbank des Nationalfonds, URL: (25.8.2021).

Publications by the person / institution

Bruno Grimschitz, Emil Jakob Schindler und sein Kreis, Galerie Schebesta, Wien 1962.

Theodor Schebesta, Theodor von Hörmann 1840–1895, Galerie Schebesta, Wien 1965.


Archiv der BOKU, Wien, Studienbuchblatt o51/249, Theodor Šebesta; Ansuchen um Studienbegünstigung Zl. 1946/8/308, Theodor Šebesta.

Archiv der Österreichischen Galerie Belvedere Wien, Archiv Neue Galerie Wien, Zl. 165/1–2, Liste der von Architekt Legler an Frau Alma Mahler-Werfel vererbten Bilder, Zl. 165/8–9, Übernahmeliste Schebesta, 19.1.1962.

Archiv der Österreichischen Galerie Belvedere Wien, Zl.: 334/1951, 83/1952, 614/1952, 333/1953, 616/1953, 485/1955, 561/1955, 389/1956, 763/1956, 890/1957, 304/1962, 351/1962, 387/1962, 406/1962, 686/1962, 89/1963, 176/1963, 204/1963, 593/1963, 680/1963, 923/1964, 455/1965, 104/1966, 414/1979.

Archiv der Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Gewerbeakt, Franz und Theodor Sebesta.

BDA-Archiv, Restitutionsmaterialien, K. 45, PM Schebesta.
BDA-Ausfuhr, Zl. 400/1938, 1.460/1938, 1.461/1938, Franz Schebesta; Zl. 569/1947, 6.348/1955, 6.122/1965 Theodor Schebesta.

KHM-Archiv, 168/VK/1955.

WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Franz, Maria, Theodor Sebesta.
WStLA, LG für Strafsachen, A11, Vr-Strafakten, 2 a E Vr 2.874/47, Hv 1.466/47 Ing. Josef Kuderna.
WStLA, M.Abt. 119, A41, VEAV 810, 1. Bez., Anna Abelis, Franz Schebesta’s Erben.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg Vr-Strafakten, Vg 5c Vr 2.122/45, Josef Pany.