Putto

Cupid

Italian (possibly Florence)
possibly mid-15th century


Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

Dimensions

80.01 cm (31 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

60.953

Medium or Technique

Wood, chestnut (?); polychromed, gilded

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Ritual objects

Chestnut (?) guilded. Wearing cap over curls, left hand on hip, in his right hand a piece of wrought iron to hold a torch. The outspread wings broken off (replaced by modern ones, now removed).

Provenance

Attilio Simonetti (dealer, b. 1843 - d. 1925), Rome [see note 1]; by 1898, sold by Simonetti to Adolf von Beckerath (b. 1834 - d. 1915), Berlin [see note 2]; May 23-26, 1916, Beckerath estate sale, Lepke, Berlin, lot 195, sold for M 11,000. By 1934, Fritz Mannheimer (b. 1890 - d. 1939), Amsterdam [see note 3]; 1934, transferred to the Artistic and General Securities Company, Ltd., for Mendelssohn and Co. bank [see note 4]; 1941, sold by the creditors of Mendelssohn bank, through the Dienststelle Mühlmann, to Hans Posse for Adolf Hitler [see note 5]; taken to Hohenfurth [see note 6]; June 20, 1945, shipped by Allied forces to the Munich Central Collecting Point (no. 285) [see note 7]; March 29, 1946, returned to the Netherlands [see note 8]; October 14-21, 1952, Mannheimer sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, lot 10. 1960, Phillip B. Mayer, London; 1960, sold by Mayer to the MFA for £1000. (Accession Date: September 21, 1960)

NOTES:
[1] That it was acquired from Simonetti is according to Cornelius von Fabriczy, "Kritisches Verzeichnis Toskanischer Holz und Tonstatuen bis zum Beginn des Cinquecento," Jahrbuch der königlich preuszischen Kunstsammlungen 30 (1909): p. 24, cat. no. 55. It might be the "petit chérubin de Donatello" seen with Attilio Simonetti in 1886 by Clémentine Hugo, and recorded in: Rome en 1886. Les Choses et les Gens, 2d. ed. (Rome, 1886), p. 233.

[2] It was in the Beckerath collection by 1898, when it was lent (as a work by Donatello) to the Ausstellung von Kunstwerken des Mittelalters und der Renaissance aus Berliner Privatbesitz (Kunstgeschichtliche Gesellschaft, Berlin, May 20 - July 3, 1898); see p. 83 and pl. LVIII.

[3] He lent this to the exhibition "Italiaansche Kunst in Nederlandsch Bezit," Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (July 1 - October 1, 1934), cat. no. 839.

[4] In 1934 Mannheimer's entire art collection was transferred to the Artistic and General Securities Company, Ltd., for Mendelssohn bank, to which he owed a considerable debt, and the bank lent the collection back to Mannheimer. Since he continued to collect works of art, the debt against him grew significantly until 1939, the year of his death.

[5] Due to its own financial difficulties, Mendelssohn bank closed its doors in 1939. Mannheimer's estate was to be sold to pay the debts owed the Dutch state. On the sale to Hitler, see Lynn H. Nicholas, "The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War" (New York: Knopf, 1994), 111-114.

[6] The Nazi regime maintained a depository for works of art at Hohenfurth.

[7] Munich Central Collecting Point inventory card (Property Card 285, Hohenfurth 17/1). National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland, RG 260, Microfilm M1946.

[8] Following World War II, art objects that had been sold to the Nazi agency were considered confiscated property and were restituted to their countries of origin for return to their former owners. However, objects from the Mannheimer collection had been sold to benefit the Dutch state, that is, to settle the debts of Mendelssohn bank. For this reason they were not returned to Fritz Mannheimer's widow, but were sold at auction for the profit of the Dutch state. See Nicholas (as above, n. 5), p. 422. Both the Artistic General Securities Company, Ltd., and the curator of the Mannheimer collection, who represented the creditors of the bank, agreed not to make claims for the restitution of rights to the works of art.

Credit Line

Otis Norcross Fund