late 19th or early 20th century
Object Place: Europe, Probably France
26.7 x 22.4 x 17.6 cm (10 1/2 x 8 13/16 x 6 15/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
One of a pair of bronze animals (see 65.2225). Seated Cat with right paw up and extended on a bronze dore bordered cushion, four corners with bronze dore tassels.
Alphonse de Rothschild (b. 1878 - d. 1942) and Clarice de Rothschild (b. 1894 - d. 1967), Vienna; 1938, confiscated from Alphonse and Clarice de Rothschild by Nazi forces (no. AR 667) [see note 1]; 1945, recovered by Allied forces; about 1947/1950, returned to Clarice de Rothschild, New York [see note 2]; probably sold by Clarice de Rothschild to Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York [see note 3]; January 15, 1951, sold by Rosenberg and Stiebel to Forsyth Wickes (b. 1876 - d. 1964), New York and Newport, RI; 1965, bequest of Forsyth Wickes to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 24, 1965)
 With the Anschluss, or annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in March, 1938, the possessions of Alphonse and Clarice de Rothschild were seized and expropriated almost immediately by Nazi forces. The cat and poodle sculptures appear in a Nazi-generated inventory of 1939 as no. AR (Alphonse Rothschild) 667: "Pintscher und Katze, französisch, Pendants, Bronzestatuetten." Katalog beschlagnahmter Sammlungen, inbesondere der Rothschild-Sammlungen in Wien, Verlags-Nr. 4938, Staatsdruckerei Wien, 1939, Privatarchiv, reproduced in Sophie Lillie, "Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens" (Vienna, 2003), p. 1025, no. 667.
 Many works of art stored elsewhere by the Nazis were moved to the abandoned salt mines of Alt Aussee in Austria, to be kept safe from wartime bombing. Allied troops recovered the looted artwork at the end of World War II, and established collecting points where the art could be identified for restitution to its rightful owners. In 1947 Clarice de Rothschild visited the salt mines of Alt Aussee, where she was able to identify the crates of works of art from her family's collection, facilitating its return shortly thereafter.
 Clarice de Rothschild sold many of the works of art that she recovered in the postwar period through the New York gallery Rosenberg and Stiebel. The paperwork issued by the gallery at the time of the sculptures' sale indicates that the Cat and Poodle came from the Alphonse de Rothschild collection, suggesting that Clarice de Rothschild had sold them directly to the gallery. Other information provided by the gallery, however, suggests that the pair had been purchased from the French dealer René Weiler in 1950. It seems likely that Rosenberg and Stiebel acquired the sculptures from Clarice de Rothschild and exchanged or sold them briefly to Weiler before buying them back and selling them to Forsyth Wickes.
Bequest of Forsyth Wickes—The Forsyth Wickes Collection