Saint Michael Weighing Souls

French (Central France)
Medieval
early 14th century


Object Place: Europe, France

Dimensions

Overall: 90.8 x 31.7 x 19cm (35 3/4 x 12 1/2 x 7 1/2in.)

Accession Number

49.48

Medium or Technique

Stone; limestone, intrasparite, with traces of polychromy

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Sculpture

Limestone. left arm gone, scales held in right broken, claw supports lowered balance. Neck restored. From a chapel in France.

Provenance

Parish church of La Cellette, Creuse, France [see note 1]. Stefan von Auspitz (b. 1869 - d. 1945), Vienna; 1931, consigned to the K. W. Bachstitz Gallery, The Hague [see note 2]; December 31, 1931, sold by Bachstitz to Oscar Bondy (b. 1870 - d. 1944) and Elisabeth Bondy, Vienna [see note 3]; 1938, confiscated from Oscar and Elisabeth by Nazi forces (no. OB 1127); stored at the Central Depot, Neue Burg, Vienna and selected for the Führermuseum, Linz [see note 4]; removed to the monastery of Kremsmünster (no. Kku 397) and subsequently to Alt Aussee; July 4, 1945, recovered by Allied forces and taken to the Munich Central Collecting Point (no. 2459) [see note 5]; March 15, 1948, released to the United States Forces in Austria and restituted to Elisabeth Bondy, New York; probably sold by Mrs. Bondy to Blumka Gallery, New York [see note 6]; 1949, sold by Blumka to the MFA for $1350. (Accession Date: February 10, 1949)

NOTES:
[1] According to information on file at the RKD, the Hague (RKD Archief Bachstitz Gallery/Stock Book Auspitz Collection, I, no. 589, "Sculpture in Stone").

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

[3] According to information on file at the RKD, the Hague (as above, n. 1).

[4] 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. This object is listed in a Nazi-generated inventory of his collection (July 4, 1938; Vienna, BDA-Archiv, Restitutions-Materialen, K 8/1), O.B. 1127: "Hl. Michael mit Wage, Steinskulptur, Kalkstein, Flügel fehlen, deutsch ? um 1300. H = 90." 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.

[5] 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 artwork at the end of World War II and established collecting points where the art could be identified for restitution to its rightful owners. This sculpture came to the Munich Central Collecting Point in 1945 from Alt Aussee (no. 1803) and was numbered 2459. The Munich Central Collecting Point inventory card is held by the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland (Property Card 2459, National Archives Record Group 260, Box 501; and National Archives Record Group 260, Entry USACA-USFA; File Rep & Rest. Box 158).

[6] Mr. Bondy and his wife left Europe and emigrated to the United States, where he passed away in 1944. 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, particularly through Blumka Gallery. For further on Oscar Bondy, see Sophie Lillie, Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens (Vienna, 2003), pp. 216-245.

Credit Line

Harriet Otis Cruft Fund