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Saint Michael Weighing Souls

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Limestone. left arm gone, scales held in right broken, claw supports lowered balance. Neck restored. From a chapel in France.

Provenance

Parish church of La Cellette, Creuse, France (original commission?) [see note 1]. Stefan von Auspitz (b. 1869 - d. 1945), Vienna; 1931, consigned to the K. W. Bachstitz Gallery, The Hague [see note 2]; December 31, 1931, sold by Bachstitz to Oscar Bondy (b. 1870 - d. 1944), Vienna and New York [see note 3]; 1938, seized by Nazi forces; August 16, 1948, restituted to Elisabeth (Mrs. Oscar) Bondy, New York [see note 4]; probably sold by Mrs. Bondy to Blumka Gallery, New York [see note 5]; 1949, sold by Blumka to the MFA for $1350. (Accession Date: February 10, 1949) NOTES: [1] According to information on file at the RKD, the Hague (RKD Archief Bachstitz Gallery/Stock Book Auspitz Collection, I, no. 589, "Sculpture in Stone"). [2] Stefan von Auspitz was a banker at the Bankhaus Auspitz, Lieben & Co., Vienna. After the company declared bankruptcy in 1931 the Austrian government seized the bank and the property of its directors. Auspitz's collection of art was sold to Daniel George van Beuningen, who kept some objects for himself, selling the remainder through Kurt Bachstitz. [3] According to information on file at the RKD, the Hague (as above, n. 1). Oscar Bondy, a Jewish businessman living in Vienna, owned a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and works of decorative art. The 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), p. 65, no. 1127. [4] In 1938, when Germany occupied Austria, Oscar Bondy's collection was systematically looted by the Nazis. 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. In a copy of the 1938 inventory (mentioned above, n. 3), which was used by the Allied forces responsible for restituting looted artwork, it is noted that the sculpture was given back on August 16, 1948. For further on Oscar Bondy, see Sophie Lillie, "Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens" (Vienna, 2003), pp. 216-245. [5] Blumka Gallery sold many of the objects restituted to German and Austrian emigrés living in the United States, including Elisabeth Bondy. At the time of this sculpture's acquisition, it was said to have come from the Bondy collection.

Credit Line

Harriet Otis Cruft Fund

French (Central France), Medieval, early 14th century

Object Place

France

Dimensions

Overall: 90.8 x 31.7 x 19cm (35 3/4 x 12 1/2 x 7 1/2in.)

Accession Number

49.48

Medium or Technique

Stone; limestone, intrasparite, with traces of polychromy

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Sculpture