Saturday, 8 February 2020

Illuminated Manuscripts from the Collection of Siegfried Laemmle (1863-1953)

Siegfried Laemmle
This week's blog has lots of gaps in it -- I am hoping that readers can help fill some of them.

Having worked in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum for two years in the early 1990s, I naturally have an interest in medieval manuscripts in LA (and California more generally). But it was only fairly recently that I was able to obtain a copy of a fairly scarce catalogue of an exhibition held in 1953-54:

Loans came from "the usual suspects", including the Walters, the Morgan, and the Houghton; and from some well-known dealers and collectors, such as Duveen Brothers, H.P. Kraus, Wildenstein and Company, and Philip Hofer; but also from a small number of much less well-known dealers and collectors, such as Victor Spark, Piero Tozzi, Siegfried Laemmle -- a successful Munich art dealer who fled to the US from Germany in 1938 -- and his son Walter.


Looking at the catalogue recently I realised that one of Siegfried's loans, no. 24:
24.  Single Miniature. Crucifixion.
Germany, 13th Cent.
3⅞ x 5⅞ inches.
Probably the School of Thuringia-Saxonia.
can be identified as a miniature that flew under the radar (mis-catalogued as modern) at a Bonham's auction in 2005:
The date, attribution, and dimensions are consistent with the sister miniatures, of which five leaves are at the Glencairn Museum, Bryn Athyn (described and reproduced in the Leaves of Gold Philadelphia exhibition catalogue), and one more is at the Ackland Museum, Chapel Hill:

No. 25 is reproduced in the LA 1953-54 catalogue:
 And is now in the McCarthy collection:

No. 38 is immediately recognisable, even though it is not reproduced:
"One is inscribed GAUTIER LEBAUDE FIT LABRE"
Despite the misreading "LEBAUDE" these must be the pair of miniatures at the Morgan Libary, MS G.37:
"GAVTIER LEBAVBE FIT LABRE" (detail)

These three identified examples give an idea of the quality and interest of Siegfried Laemmle's collection. I therefore hope it will be possible to identify the others that were exhibited in LA in 1953-54:

37.  Single miniature. Knight with a Monk Writing. 
France, 13th Cent.
3¼ x 3½ inches.

79.  Single miniature. Mary, Jesus and Anna.
Netherlands, 15th Cent.
6 x 7¼ inches.
85.  Single miniature. Four Saints.
Germany, 15th Cent.
4½ x 4 inches.

87.  Single miniature. A King and a Queen.
Alsace, 15th Cent.
6½ x 6⅛ inches.

88.  Single leaf. Pieta and Crucifixion.
Austria, ca. 1420.
4½ x 5¾ inches.

91.  Single miniature. Initial "S".
Italy (Bologna), 14th Cent.
5¾ x 7¼ inches.
Figures of a Pope and of a Cardinal kneeling.


Two loans came from the collection of Siegfried's son, Walter:
46.  Single Miniature. Initial "S".
France, 14th Cent.
7⅐ x 7½ inches.

This will be hard to pin down, but his other loan ought to be recognisable:
19.  Single Miniature. Initial "P".
England, 12th Cent.
4⅛ x 6⅙ inches.
A leaf ornament with a man holding an ax.

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