At Auction | Important Judaica at Sotheby’s

Posted in Art Market by Editor on December 1, 2012

Press release from Sotheby’s:

Sotheby’s: Important Judaica, N08922
New York, 19 December 2012

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Lot 122 — Aaron Wolff Herlingen, The Herlingen Haggadah, 1730 (Vienna) — est. $800,000/1.2 million

Sotheby’s New York sale of Important Judaica on 19 December 2012 will offer examples of Hebrew ceremonial metalwork, illuminated manuscripts, early printed books, original decorative bindings, and fine art. The auction, which presents works from across the globe, is led by a magnificent Passover Haggadah, written and illustrated by Aaron Wolf Herlingen, from Vienna, 1730 (est. $800,000/1.2 million*).

The sale also includes important paintings by Isidor Kaufmann, a silver section highlighted by a German Hanukah Lamp, and the Kagan-Maremba Coin and Medal Collection that will be sold on behalf of The Jewish Museum (est. $300/500,000). The sale will be exhibited in its entirety in our York Avenue galleries beginning 14 December, alongside the sale of Israeli & International Art.

Undoubtedly the highlight of the Books and Manuscripts section of the sale, The Herlingen Haggadah from 1730 is a magnificent example of the 18th-century revival of Hebrew manuscript illumination that began in Vienna (est. $800,000/1.2 million).

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 3.17.59 PMThe scribe and artist of the manuscript is Aaron Wolff Herlingen, one of the finest Jewish calligraphers of the 18th-century renaissance of Hebrew manuscripts, and who became the scribe of the Imperial Library in Vienna in 1736. Herlingen signed his name on the title page of the present work in four languages – Hebrew, Latin, German and French – a conspicuous demonstration of his facility in the multiple languages of the Austrian Empire. The present haggadah is one of Herlingen’s finest efforts and his consummate skill as a scribe is evidenced in the superbly written letters of the text and commentaries. His artistic mastery is demonstrated in the numerous illustrative and decorative elements within the manuscript. The work features three ornamented initial word panels and 60 text illustrations, as well as a detailed manuscript map appended by Herlingen specifically for this volume.

Another highlighted manuscript is an extremely rare and important early Mahzor, France, 13th century. Estimated at $180/240,000, the work contains the liturgy from Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Hanukkah, according to the French rite. Research shows that the present manuscript and a Mahzor for Rosh ha-Shanah currently in the collection of the British Library, were penned by the same scribe and originally constituted a single, larger work. This volume also may well be the most important extant source of the liturgical rite of medieval French Jewry, and includes several customs and traditions that are unknown from any other source.

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Lot 119 — Derekh Etz Heim (Path of the Tree of Life), ca. 1700-20, est: $60,000 – 80,000

Additional works on offer feature the first Haggadah printed in America, which contains service for the first two nights of the Passover in Hebrew and English (est. $80/100,000), and an important decorated Esther Scroll in a matching contemporary silver case, circa 1800 (est. $70/90,000). Also included in the sale is Derekh Etz Heim (Path of the Tree of Life), an 18th-century manuscript by Haim Vital of a kabbalistic masterwork (est. $60/80,000). This manuscript is the first part of Haim Vital’s authoritative summary of the kabbalistic teachings of his master, the preeminent kabbalist of 16th-century Safed, Isaac Luria.

The highlight of the silver and metalwork on offer in the December auction is an important German silver-gilt Hanukah Lamp made by Johann Valentin Schüler in Frankfurt, Germany, circa 1690 (est. $300/500,000). The magnificent lamp belongs to a group of seven related examples from late-17th- and early 18th-century Frankfurt, most of which are preserved in museum collections – the example in the Steiglitz Collection at the Israel Museum is closest to the piece on offer. These lamps show the wealth of Frankfurt’s Jewish community, at a time when the city’s ghetto was one of the most densely populated in Europe. The sale also features two fine singleowner groupings, one of which includes a very early German silvergilt Havdalah Compendium, made in Augsburg, circa 1630 (est. $30/50,000). (more…)

Holiday Gift Guide | From The Metropolitan Museum’s Gift Shop

Posted in marketplace (goods & services) by Editor on December 1, 2012

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s gift shop includes an assortment of items inspired by the museum’s eighteenth-century holdings. I can vouch for only the crocus pot, but it’s fabulous. And through December 2, you can save 25% sitewide with code L182. -CH

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Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 2.25.22 PMFrench Neoclassical Button Necklace ($75)

In the collection of The Costume Institute at the Museum is a group of six French buttons made about 1785. These striking buttons are made of silver-mounted, star- shaped strass (a flint glass used to imitate gemstones) interspersed with rich cobalt blue enamel. Their geometric design is in keeping with the Neoclassical style in vogue during the reign of Louis XVI, while their eye-catching sparkle speaks of opulence. Our necklace adapts these stunning buttons in hematite overlay with black hand enameling and Swarovski™ crystals. Hematite overlay, with Swarovski™ crystals. Hand enameled. Lobster claw closure. Adjusts from 17”L to 19”L with extender chain.

Earrings are also available

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Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 2.31.22 PMCrocus Pot ($65 / on sale for $32.50)

Made in 1740 in England, the original delftware crocus pot was conceived to cultivate bulbs indoors to brighten gloomy winter days. Although the shape of the bowl is European, the inspiration for the decoration is Chinese—a true depiction of immaculate chinoiserie. Left in the white or decorated in shades of blue or polychrome enamels, delftware was both a useful and a decorative luxury ware for wealthy households. By the middle of the eighteenth century, crocus pots were being used to cultivate flowering bulbs indoors during the winter months. Our reproduction holds bulbs or cut flowers. Porcelain. 8” diameter.

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Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 2.11.53 PM18th-Century German Floral Ceramic Travel Cup ($20 / on sale for $10)

In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum is a large, white, baluster-shaped vase decorated with Kakiemon-style flowers and birds in polychrome and gilt, and an iron-red meander pattern on the neck. This splendid covered vase (Germany, ca. 1725–30), almost two feet high, was made at a German factory, which was the first European manufactory of hard-paste porcelain. Kakiemon is the name given to a distinctive class of Japanese porcelains, which were widely imitated by eighteenth-century European manufacturers. The colorful design on our sturdy ceramic travel cup is adapted from the vibrant floral decorations on the original vase. Ceramic cup. Silicone lid. Microwave and dishwasher safe. 8 oz. 6”H x 3 3/4” diameter.

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Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 2.21.31 PMPineapple Candleholders, Large ($75 / on sale for $37.50)

A charming addition to your holiday table and all year round, these candleholders are adapted from a pair of late eighteenth-century French ormolu finials in the Museum’s collection. Set of 2. 14K gold overlay. Candles not included. 4”H x 2”W.

A smaller set, of four, is also available.

Call for Papers | Sugar and Beyond

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 1, 2012

From the conference website:

Sugar and Beyond
The John Carter Brown Library, Providence, RI, 25-26 October 2013

Proposals due by 15 December 2012


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Organizers: Christopher P. Iannini (Rutgers), Julie Chun Kim (Fordham), and K. Dian Kriz (Brown)

The John Carter Brown Library seeks proposals for a conference entitled Sugar and Beyond, to be held on October 25-26, 2013, and in conjunction with the Library’s Fall 2013 exhibition on sugar in the early modern period, especially its bibliographical and visual legacies. The centrality of sugar to the development of the Atlantic world is now well known. Sugar was the ‘green gold’ that planters across the Americas staked their fortunes on, and it was the commodity that became linked in bittersweet fashion to the rise of the Atlantic slave trade. Producing unprecedented quantities of sugar through their enforced labor, Africans on plantations helped transform life not only in the colonies but also in Europe, where consumers incorporated the luxury commodity into their everyday rituals and routines.

Sugar and Beyond seeks to evaluate the current state of scholarship on sugar, as well as to move beyond it by considering related or alternative consumer cultures and economies. Given its importance, sugar as a topic still pervades scholarship on the Americas and has been treated in many recent works about the Caribbean, Brazil, and other regions. This conference thus aims to serve as an occasion where new directions in the study of sugar can be assessed. At the same time, the connection of sugar to such broader topics as the plantation system, slavery and abolition, consumption and production, food, commodity exchange, natural history, and ecology has pointed the way to related but distinct areas of inquiry.

Although sugar was one of the most profitable crops of the tropical Americas, it was not the only plant being cultivated. Furthermore, although the plantation system dominated the lives of African and other enslaved peoples, they focused much of their efforts at resistance around the search for ways to mitigate or escape the regime of sugar planting. We thus welcome scholars from all disciplines and national traditions interested in exploring both the power and limits of sugar in the early Atlantic world. Topics that papers might consider include but are not limited to the following:

• The development of sugar in comparative context
• The rise of sugar and new conceptions of aesthetics, taste, and cultural refinement
• Atlantic cultures of consumption
• Coffee, cacao, and other non-sugar crops and commodities
• Natural history and related genres of colonial description and promotion
• Imperial botany and scientific programs of agricultural expansion and experimentation
• Alternative ecologies to the sugar plantation
• Plant transfer and cultivation by indigenous and African agents
• Provision grounds and informal marketing
• Economies of subsistence, survival, and resistance
• Reimagining the Caribbean archive beyond sugar: new texts and methodological approaches

In order to be considered for the program, please send a paper proposal of 500 words and CV to jcbsugarandbeyond@gmail.com. The deadline for submitting proposals is December 15, 2012.

Presenters will likely have some travel and accommodation subvention available to them. For more information, consult the conference website or email Margot Nishimura, Deputy Director and Librarian (margot_nishimura@brown.edu).

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