Owl jug with wooden head

about 1600


Height 33.7 cm (13 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Glazed earthenware with wooden head

Not On View





Hafner ware. Glazed pottery body painted in blue; back feathers in line-filled scallops, front in long V flanked with dashes; yellow feet. Head brown with black dashes fits over neck.


Oscar Bondy (b. 1870 - d. 1944) and Elisabeth Bondy, Vienna; 1938, confiscated from Oscar and Elisabeth Bondy by Nazi forces (no. OB 95) [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. Kku 475) and subsequently to Alt Aussee; July 2, 1945, recovered by Allied forces and taken to the Munich Central Collecting Point (no. 2317) [see note 3]; November 29, 1946, released to the United States Forces in Austria for restitution to Elisabeth (Mrs. Oscar) Bondy, New York; probably sold by Mrs. Bondy to Blumka Gallery, New York [see note 4]; May 18, 1964, sold by Blumka to R. Thornton Wilson (b. 1886 - d. 1977), New York; 1983, bequest of R. Thornton Wilson to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 12, 1983)

[1] The jug is identifiable in undated photographs of a room in Oscar Bondy's Vienna home (copy in MFA curatorial file). 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 vessel is included in a Nazi-generated inventory of his collection (July 4, 1938; Vienna, BDA-Archiv, Restitutions-Materialen, K 8/1), no. 95 ("Fayence Eule, Kopf aus Holz ergänzt, H=32.5, oberösterreichisch?").

[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 owl jug 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 ar the end of World War II and established collecting points where the art could be identified for restitution to its rightful owners. This vessel came to the Munich Central Collecting Point in 1945 from Alt Aussee (no. 1661/8) and was numbered 2317.

[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 Sophie Lillie, "Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens" (Vienna, 2003), pp. 216-245.

Credit Line

Bequest of R. Thornton Wilson in memory of Florence Ellsworth Wilson