House altar, triptych

about 1514

Object Place: Europe, Germany, Swabian/Ulm


31.28 cm (12 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood; Polychrome wood

Not On View





Polychromed wood: Martyrdom of St. Sebastian. Shaped top, incurved panel molded base. Painting on wings: St. Nicholas and St. Margaret; inside: archers point arrows at relief statuette of St. Sebastian in Renaissance architectural frame with shields and putto above. Made Sebastian Molitar, Abbot of Zwifalten (Wurtemburg).


Captain Geiger, Neu-Ulm, Germany. Albert Figdor (b. 1843 - d. 1927), Vienna; September 29, 1930, posthumous Figdor sale, Paul Cassirer, Berlin, lot 212, sold for M 4,100 to Benedikt, Vienna. Oscar Bondy (b. 1870 - d. 1944) and Elisabeth Bondy, Vienna; 1938, confiscated from Oscar and Elisabeth by Nazi forces (no. OB 898) [see note 1]; stored at the Central Depot, Neue Burg, Vienna and selected for the Führermuseum, Linz [see note 2]; removed to the monastery of Kremsmünster (no. K1676) and subsequently to Alt Aussee; October 15, 1945, recovered by Allied forces and taken to the Munich Central Collecting Point (no. 9552) [see note 3]; May 11, 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 4]; 1949, sold by Blumka to the MFA for $1800. (Accession Date: February 10, 1949)

[1] 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), as O.B. 898: "Klappaltärchen mit geschnitzter Sebastiansdarstellung und gemalten Flügeln, Innenseite Bogenschützen, Aussenseiten Hl. Nikolaus und Hl. Margaretha, deutsch ca. 1500, 33.5 x 15.2." Also see Sophie Lillie, "Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens" (Vienna, 2003), p. 227.

[2] The Führermuseum, the art museum Adolf Hitler planned to build in Linz, Austria, was given right of first refusal over the confiscated collection. This altarpiece was selected for inclusion.

[3] 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 triptych came to the Munich Central Collecting Point in 1945 from Alt Aussee (no. 4772) and was numbered 9552, which is recorded on the reverse of the panels. The Munich Central Collecting Point inventory card is held by the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland (Property Card 9552, National Archives Record Group 260, Box 501; and National Archives Record Group 260, Entry USACA-USFA; File Rep & Rest. Box 158).

[4] 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 Lillie, 2003 (as above, n. 1), pp. 216-245.

Credit Line

John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund