Following its offering of The Michael & Judy Steinhardt Judaica Collection last April, Sotheby’s is hosting two auctions: Important Judaica and Israeli Art. The items are open to the public for free viewing for the next few days and over the upcoming weekend.
The Judaica auction features resplendent items: from silver treasures produced in Augsburg, Amsterdam and Frankfurt during the Baroque era to masterworks created in the late 20th century by silversmiths in New York City. Highlighting the paintings section is an important, recently rediscovered Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. The auction, which presents works from across the globe, also features a Minuscule Torah Scroll, Germany, circa 19th century, meticulously penned on parchment, and only three inches tall, as well as an Exquisite Italian Torah Binder, circa 1700.Lot 109 is expected to raise over $200,000. It is a MINUSCULE TORAH SCROLL from 19th Century Germany. Written in Hebrew STAM (Bet Yosef) script it is mounted on silver turned finials with engraved floral motifs. Bid on it on December 17, and they throw in a silver yad; crimson satin ribbon tie, crimson and gold cloth mantle. But wait. You also get a modern custom wood-and-silver traveling ark.
It is expected to be offered right after Lot 108: PINKAS OF THE LEATHERWORKERS OF JASSY by the scribe JACOB BEN ABRAHAM TOV SEGAL OF BERDITCHEV. It is from 1832 and might sell for over $40,000. The thirty leaves are ink and gouache on paper, lavishly decorated in vibrant colors. Ashkenazic semi-cursive Hebrew script; title and headings in square Hebrew script; and modern foliation in pencil. It comes in a cloth on board slipcase.
Also offered is an oil painting by MORITZ DANIEL OPPENHEIM (1800 – 1882) titled THE KIDNAPPING OF EDGARDO MORTARA from 1862. It was an international scandal in the nineteenth century as Mortara was taken from his Jewish family in Bologna to be raised as a Roman Catholic. He later became a priest in the Augustine order. It is estimated for $200K-$300K.
ISIDOR KAUFMANN’s (1853 – 1921) oil painting titled, PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG RABBI (1897) has as estimate of $100K-$150K. Kaufmann was an Austro-Hungarian painter who specialized in scenes of Jewish, often Hasidic life. His most noted paintings refer to the life of Polish Jews, including Der Besuch des Rabbi (the original of which was owned by Emperor Franz Joseph I, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum), Schachspieler, Der Zweifler (for which he received the gold medal at the Weltausstellung of 1873).
Lot 73: ILYA SCHOR’s (1904 – 1961) gouache on paperboard titled WEDDING IN THE VILLAGE from 1960 has a more affordable estimate of under $10K
REUVEN RUBIN’s (1893 – 1974) oil painting titled THE MILKMAN from 1928 has an estimate of $300K. Rubin Zelicovici was born in Gala?i Romania to a poor Hasidic family with thirteen children. In 1912, he traveled to Palestine to study art at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. He did not agree with the leaders of that school and left for Paris in 1913 and studied at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Alfred Stieglitz organized a show in NYC for him after WWI. In 1923, Rubin returned to Palestine, now British Mandate, not Ottoman. He later served as Israel’s Ambassador to Romania.
So many Rubin paintings are being auctioned on Tuesday that a buyer with a million or two could open their own RUBIN M– USEUM OF ART.
Keep away from Lot 145: AN IMPORTANT WOMAN’S PRAYER BOOK, INCLUDING PSALMS AND TKHINES, WITH A RARE AND EXQUISITE VELLUM BINDING, AMSTERDAM: 1786. The 493 pages are edged gilt and gauffered. Contemporary vellum, elaborately gilt-tooled and hand painted in green, orange, and maroon inks; embellished with architectural elements, flora, fauna, and cherubim. Comes with a modern green morocco slipcase. It has an estimate of $10K. Keep away, cuz I will bid on it, and I don’t want to fight ya’.