Bust of a Prophet

German (Ausburg)
Renaissance
About 1509–18
Sebastian Loscher


Object Place: Europe, Augsburg, Germany

Dimensions

60.96 x 55.88 cm (24 x 22 in.)

Accession Number

49.4

Medium or Technique

Wood; Pearwood

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Sculpture

Lindenwood, much eaten. Applique figure made for the Fugger Chapel.

Provenance

About 1509/1518, Fugger Chapel, monastery of St. Anna, Augsburg, Germany (original commission) [see note 1]; about 1820, chapel restored and sculptural decoration removed. Acquired in Augsburg by Albert Figdor (b. 1843 - d. 1927), Vienna; September 29, 1930, posthumous Figdor sale, Paul Cassirer, Berlin, lot 258, to Stefan von Auspitz (b. 1869 - d. 1945), Vienna, for 19,000 M [see note 2]; 1931, consigned to the K. W. Bachstitz Gallery, The Hague [see note 3]; January 2, 1932, sold by Bachstitz to Oscar Bondy (b. 1870 - d. 1944) and Elisabeth Bondy, Vienna [see note 4]; 1938, confiscated from Oscar and Elisabeth Bondy by Nazi forces (no. OB 8); stored at the Central Depot, Neue Burg, Vienna and selected for the Führermuseum, Linz [see note 5]; removed to the monastery of Kremsmünster (no. Kku 1029) and subequently to Alt Aussee; recovered by Allied forces and taken to the Munich Central Collecting Point (no. 2413); returned to Elisabeth (Mrs. Oscar) Bondy, New York [see note 6]; probably sold by Mrs. Bondy to Blumka Gallery, New York [see note 7]; 1949, sold by Blumka to the MFA for $6,000. (Accession Date: January 13, 1949)

NOTES:
[1] This was one of sixteen busts decorating the choir stalls of the Fugger Chapel (named for its patron, Jakob Fugger), which was consecrated in 1518. Other busts are today at the Bode Museum, Berlin. The provenance given here (to 1930) is taken from "Die Sammlung Albert Figdor, Wien" (Berlin and Vienna: Paul Cassirer and Artaria, 1930), vol. 4, lot 258 (n. p.).

[2] Sale results were published by Jakob Rosenberg, "Die Berliner Versteigerung Figdor," Kunst und Künstler 29 (November, 1930): 87.

[3] 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 von Beuningen, who kept some objects for himself, selling the remainder through Kurt Bachstitz.

[4] According to information on file at the RKD, the Hague (RKD Archief Bachstitz Gallery/Stock Book Auspitz II, no. 853, as "Sculpture in Limewood"). 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 his 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. 1, no. 8 ("Adolf Daucher, Holzbüste eines bärtigen Mannes").

[5] With the Anschluss, or annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in March, 1938, the possessions of Oscar and Elisabeth Bondy were seized and expropriated almost immediately by Nazi forces. The Führermuseum, the art museum Adolf Hitler planned to build in Linz, Austria, was given right of first refusal over the confiscated collection. This sculpture was selected for inclusion; see Birgit Schwarz, Hitlers Museum: Die Fotoalben Gemäldegalerie Linz: Dokumente zum "Führermuseum" (Vienna, 2004), pp. 139 and 334, no. XX/29. Mr. Bondy and his wife left Europe and emigrated to the United States, where he passed away in 1944.

[6] The bust was recovered among Mr. Bondy's possessions at the abandoned salt mines of Alt Aussee, Austria, where works of art looted by the Nazis had been placed for safekeeping during wartime. It then passed through the Munich Central Collecting Point, established by Allied forces for collecting and identifing artwork for eventual restitution. 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. According to annotations on the 1938 inventory cited in Note 1, the sculpture was given back to Mrs. Bondy. For further on Oscar Bondy, see Sophie Lillie, "Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens" (Vienna, 2003), pp. 216-245.

[7] Blumka Gallery sold many of the objects restituted to German and Austrian emigrés living in the United States, including Elisabeth Bondy. When the sculpture was acquired by the MFA it was attributed to Adolf Daucher.

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund