T he art of sculpture has captivated humanity for millennia. Sculpture inspires powerful reactions because when a three-dimensional object is in the viewer’s space there is no choice but to interact with it. This auction showcases a select grouping of some of the finest early European sculptures and objets d’art on the art market. It encompasses the Medieval world, the Italian Renaissance, the Baroque, and the Age of Enlightenment.
Exceptional Enamels by the Master of the Aeneid
The Master of the Aeneid was one of the greatest Renaissance enamellers. Most of his works are in major public collections including the Louvre, the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These exceptionally beautiful and rare plaques come from his greatest work: a series of enamels which tell the story of Virgil’s Aeneid. The plaques illustrate key scenes from the epic poem in which the Trojan hero Aeneas travels from the ashes of Troy to found a new city in Latium: Rome.
The Nazi-Looted Art of Jakob Goldschmidt & Emanuël Vita Israel
A poignant aspect of this auction are the lots which have been restituted to the heirs of Jewish collectors whose collections were stolen under the Nazi regime in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The auction includes two works owned by one of the greatest 20th-century art collectors, Jakob Goldschmidt, whose 1958 auction of Impressionist pictures at Sotheby’s in London remains one of the defining moments of art market history.
There are also rare medieval objects from the collection of the scholarly Dutch Pharmacist Emmanuel Vita Israel, who assembled an eclectic private museum above his Amsterdam Pharmacy. Renaissance Bronzes owned by the great Munich art dealership A. S. Drey conclude the groupings of lots which tell the story of pre-war Jewish connoisseurship and present day restitution.
Southern Germany was the centre of virtuoso limewood carving in the late Gothic period. Amassed over generations, this private collection of medieval wood sculpture showcases captivating depictions of the Virgin and Child, from the ‘Beautiful Style’ of circa 1400, to the expressiveness of later master carvers such as Tilman Riemenschneider.
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the enamel workshops of Limoges dazzled medieval Europe with their beautifully coloured metalwork. The sale includes diverse examples of enamelled liturgical objects, ranging from reliquary caskets to a fine book cover.