The 23rd. In April 2021, one of the largest and most impressive private collections of rare manuscripts and old prints assembled by New York philanthropists Elaine and Alexander P. Rosenberg will be auctioned at Christi’s in New York. According to a Christie’s press release, the books for sale represent the height of European manuscript painting in the 15th and 16th centuries. Century.
Eugenio Donadoni, Senior Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Specialist in the London office of Christie’s, said this is one of the best collections to come to market in decades and one of the best collections we have ever offered.
Some of these volumes were formerly in the libraries of important collectors such as the Roman Emperor Charles V, the British newspaper boss Henry Yates Thompson, the American businessman and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, the businessman Alfred Chester-Beatty, and the English investment banker and famous book collector Henry Huth.
The auction includes more than 200 volumes with original bindings dating from the 15th century. Among them is the Book of Hours, written mainly on parchment, from the beginning of the 16th century. The sale of the collection is expected to raise more than $8 million.
At the request of the collector, the proceeds of the auction will be donated to the various museums in support of their rare books department.
The highlight of the collection, as ARTnews has noted, is a French illuminated manuscript on parchment known as the Paris Book of Hours, created around 1440 by the mysterious master of Paris, Bartholomew Anglicus. The document contains 16 small images. The book is richly decorated with gold and silver, attesting to the wealth and wisdom of its first owners.
According to initial estimates from experts, it will sell for between $1.5 and $2.5 million.
Another unique lot is a small prayer book The Book of Hours of Charles V, painted by the artist Gerard Horenbut for Charles V around 1510. The book, consisting of beautiful miniatures and figurative borders, is tentatively estimated at between $800,000 and $1.2 million.
In addition to these volumes, the collection includes rarities such as :
– The first edition of the complete works of Plato translated by Marsilio Ficino and printed by the nuns of San Jacopo di Ripoli in 1484-1485.
– An exceptional book of hours, painted with finesse and extravagance by the master Jean de Moléon, one of the artists of the Bellemare group in 1525.
– a beautiful book of hours, created by one of the most sought-after Parisian illuminators of the late 15th century. Master Jacques de Besançon.
– The enchanted bell of François Le Clerc, generously lit by the Cardinal of Bourbon for the Le Clerc family – the barons La Fauré-Le-Roi, La Motte, Lusarchi and later Fleurigny – and the diamonds of Chaumont and Givry.
Elaine and Alexander P. Rosenberg
Alexander Rosenberg is the famous founder of the Art Dealers Association of America. His father was the famous French art dealer Paul Rosenberg, who represented giants of modern art such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. They worked together, and after Paul’s death, Alexander became a director of the company. Together with his wife Elaine, he worked to recover works of art that had been stolen from his family by the Nazis during World War II. After Alexander’s death in 1987, Elaine continued to work on him. In many cases, Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg succeeded.
Elaine Rosenberg was an active and influential member of the Morgan Library. It has remained closely associated with the Museum of Modern Art and the cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
She died in 2020.
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