Saturday, 20 February 2016

Le Répertoire des biens spoliés en France durant la guerre 1939-1945

The previous post concerned a small number of illuminated manuscripts recovered from the Nazis and exhibited in Paris in 1946, described in a slim catalogue.

Blogging about it reminded me that I once bought a related but much rarer and much more extensive (and expensive) publication, Le Répertoire des biens spoliés en France durant la guerre 1939-1945, tome VII: Archives, manuscrits et livres rares [Berlin, 1948]. I couldn't really justify the purchase price, so with some regret I sold it soon after at cost to the Art Loss Register, confident that they would make better use of it than me.

Happily for me, the Répertoire has now been digitized and can be downloaded from here.

The link takes one to a page with the following explanation:
"Published between 1947 and 1949 ... the Répertoire provides all the information collected about looted property. The information was gathered from many sources including individuals who were spoliated, German documents and the notes of Rose Valland. ... The purpose of the work was twofold: on the one hand to disseminate information about objects still "orphaned" and on the other to provide a list of objects still illegally held.  The volumes are not a complete catalogue of works spoliated in France by the German occupiers, but a catalogue of objects which were still not restituted at the date of publication. This explains why some of the great collections, such as that of the David-Weill family, are not included as by 1947 that collection was already restituted."
The same scans, with more introductory material, can be found on a French site named for Rose Valland.

The Répertoire contains many well-known manuscripts, including these well-known three:

The Hours of Charles the Noble is now at the Cleveland Museum of Art:
The Hours of  Jeanne d'Evreux is now at the Cloisters, New York:
The Hours of Jeanne de Navarre is now at the BnF:
There are also many others that I do not recognise immediately, but which should be identifiable, such as no.347: "Livre de Prières -- Fin XIVe s[iècle], enluminé de vignettes, sur vélin, éd. Italienne avec notice du censeur en espagnol".

The cuttings and miniatures tend to have very summary descriptions which would make identification almost impossible, were it not for the fact that most of them come from the collection of Georges Wildenstein, and can thus probably be matched-up with his collection now at the Musée Marmottan. One of the very few reproductions of manuscripts in the Répertoire, for example, is for no.15603, attributed to "Ecole Française XVe" and described as "Jules César recevant l'ambassade des Germains":
which can thus be identified as Wildenstein no.6197 at the Marmottan:

Perhaps at some point I'll try to do a complete list.

The document as a whole is fascinating to browse, even beyond the medieval manuscripts. It is ironic, for example,  that among the possessions confiscated by the Nazis from Raymond Dreyfus was a copy of Mein Kampf:

UPDATE, 17 June 2018
Répertoire no.15603, now in the Wildenstein collection, was sold as "The Property of a Gentleman, a well-known Collector", in a Sotheby's catalogue, 13 July 1909, lot 292, bought for £8 5s by Edwards:

1 comment:

  1. Merci Peter pour ce post bien utile : repéré un livre d'heures breton autrefois à la BM de Sens (n° 359)


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