St. Martin dividing his coat with a Beggar. Polychromed wood applique figure in almost full round. Saint sits sideways astride horse; beggar with crutch his legs strapped to kneeling-stools, on uneven oblong base.
Emile Gavet (b. 1830- d. 1904), Paris. By 1938, Oscar Bondy (b. 1870 - d. 1944), Vienna; 1938, seized by Nazi forces [see note 1]; subsequently taken to Alt Aussee [see note 2]; July 17, 1945, recovered by Allied forces and taken to the Munich Central Collecting Point (no. 4689) [see note 3]; March 15, 1948, released to the United States Forces in Austria for restitution to Elisabeth (Mrs. Oscar) Bondy, New York [see note 4]. 1952, gift of the Class of the Museum of Fine Arts to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 11, 1952) NOTES:  Oscar Bondy, a Jewish businessman living in Vienna, owned a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and works of decorative art, which were seized after Germany occupied Austria in March, 1938. This sculpture is identifiable in an undated photograph of a room in Bondy's Vienna home (copy in MFA curatorial file) and is included in a Nazi-generated inventory of his collection (July 4, 1938; Vienna, BDA-Archiv, Restitutions-Materialen, K 8/1), no. 1424 ("St. Martin on Horse, Wood sculpture, gilded, Donau school, 16th cent., h. 94 [cm]"). Also see Sophie Lillie, "Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens" (Vienna, 2003), p. 229, where it is listed in a Nazi inventory of his possessions as well (April 3, 1939; Vienna, BDA-Archiv, Restitutions-Materialen, K 8/3).  Many works of art looted by the Nazis were moved to the abandoned salt mines of Alt Aussee in Austria, where they would be safe from wartime bombing.  Allied troops established collecting points where looted works of art could be identified for eventual restitution to their rightful owners. This sculpture came to the Munich Central Collecting Point in 1945 from Alt Aussee shipment 3338 and was numbered 4689.  The United States Forces in Austria was the branch of the military responsible for returning art to its rightful owners.  Mr. Bondy and his wife left Europe and emigrated to the United States, where he passed away in 1944. In the years following World War II, much of his collection was restituted to his widow and subsequently sold on the New York art market, particularly through Blumka Gallery. For further on Oscar Bondy, see Lillie, 2003 (as above, n. 1), pp. 216-245.
Gift of the Class of the Museum of Fine Arts (Mrs. Arthur L.Devens, Chair)