Couple Playing Cards (from the series Scenes of Daily Life)
Israhel van Meckenem (German, about 1440/45–1503)
Bartsch 114; Geisberg 412; Lehrs 510 (I/I); Hollstein-Koreny 510
Sheet: 16.7 x 11 cm (6 9/16 x 4 5/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
Signed in plate, lower center: I V M
Verso, collector's stamp, in brown ink: [Baron von Gutmann; Lugt 2770]; in graphite: 182
May 13-17, 1907, anonymous sale, H. G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, lot 666, sold for M 3000 to Artaria for Rudolf von Gutmann (b. 1880 - d. 1966), Vienna (Lugt 2770); 1938, seized by Nazi authorities and taken to the Neue Burg and then the Albertina, Vienna [see note]; 1947, returned to Rudolf von Gutmann, Victoria, Canada; sold by Gutmann to William H. Schab (dearler), New York; sold by Schab to the MFA for $1485. (Accession Date: January 8, 1948)
Rudolf von Gutmann of Vienna was a Jewish industrialist who built up a renowned art collection in the early 20th century. On the night of the Anschluss, or the incorporation of Austria into Nazi Germany (March 13, 1938), Gutmann and his wife Marianne fled to Czechoslovakia, eventually making their way to Canada. The art collection was left behind, confiscated by Nazi authorities, and stored in the Neue Burg Central Depot, Vienna. This print is recorded in the 1939 inventory of the confiscated Gutmann collection, no. 843.
After World War II, Gutmann was able to recover parts of his collection. According to information recorded by MFA curator Henry Rossiter (December 11, 1947), "With the assistance of the Canadian Government [Gutmann] returned to Vienna this summer and recovered what he could of his collection which he had stored in the Albertina for safe-keeping. Most of his Rembrandts and Dürers, which were outstanding, have disappeared. About a month ago, he asked Mr. W. H. Schab, the New York dealer, to undertake the sale of those he was able to recover." Schab offered these prints to the MFA.
For more information on Gutmann and a transcription of the 1939 inventory, see Sophie Lillie, Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens (Vienna, 2003), pp. 438-465.
William Francis Warden Fund