Jan Brueghel the Elder (Brussels 1568 - 1625 Antwerpt), Panoramic landscape with travellers with horses carts and cattle on a Sandy road, signed and indistinctly dated lower right: BRUEGHEL 1***, oil on copper, 22.2 by 33 cm.; 8 3/4  by 13 in. Estimate £800,000-1,200,000 / €1,090,000-1,640,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- On 24th and 25th November 2015, Sotheby’s London will host a major two-day sale of art and antiques from the collection of the Bernheimers, one of Europe’s greatest art dealer dynasties. 

The incredible story of the Bernheimer family is a tale of resilience and constant reinvention. Covering four generations of art dealers, it is permeated with the vicissitudes of 20th century history and, in many ways, charts the evolution of the dealer ‘trade’ over for the last 150 years. The Bernheimer business started with a tiny market stall in Munich in the mid-19th century and swiftly grew into the most illustrious antique and interior decoration emporium in the world, renowned for supplying royalty (e.g. King Ludwig II) and the elites of the time. Following their deportation to Dachau and the expropriation of the business by the Nazis, part of the family emigrated to Venezuela. They returned after the war to reinvent the business which soon became famous as the “Bloomingdales for Antiques”. Today the family tradition continues in the wake of Konrad Bernheimer, the celebrated Old Masters dealer who played a key role in preserving the legacy of his ancestors. 

The 539 lots to be offered comprise both treasures from the Bernheimer personal collection and stock from the family business, including numerous objects from the famous Bernheimer Palais, a six-storey high palace on Munich’s Lenbachplatz built by the family’s patriarch Lehmann Bernheimer in 1889. Spanning various collecting categories, including furniture, painting, sculpture, porcelain, and wine, these artworks have been housed mainly in Burg Marquartstein, an 11th-century castle in Bavaria that Konrad Bernheimer especially bought in 1987. Today, as he is about to hand over to the next Bernheimer generation, Konrad Berheimer has decided to sell Burg Marquartstein and part with the collection. 

Many items in the sale still bear the original labels of the store's 19th-century heyday and come with a personal, amusing, or poignant anecdote. Among them are the “Holbein Chair” which served as the throne for Pope John Paul II during his 1980 visit in Munich, a 1900 lamp, counting as one of the first electrified art objects and the Bernheimer Lions, which once flanked the doors of the great Bernheimer Palais. 

Commenting on the forthcoming sale, Mario Tavella, Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe and Head of House Sales and Single Owner Collections, said: “It is the dream of any art connoisseur to have had the chance to wander through the Bernheimer Palais’ majestic halls in its days of glory. This collection reflects the erudite quest of four generations of art dealers for discovering the best art. It is a huge honour to have been entrusted with this sale which also pays tribute the key role of Konrad Bernheimer in preserving the legacy of this great dynasty.” 

Konrad Bernheimer: “During the 30 years we spent at Burg Marquartstein, my family and I have lived surrounded by works of art and objects that tell the tale of the Bernheimers and reminded us of the extraordinary journey of my ancestors. While it was not an easy decision to part with this collection which includes so many treasures and memories, I know it is now time to move on and explore new exciting avenues. This sale is a way to hand over the Bernheimer legacy to the next generation.” 

Many highlights in the sale reflect the Antiques and Decorative Arts arm of the business, whilst others, such as British and Old Master paintings are more recent additions, following the diversification of the family’s activities. 


Thought to have been purchased by Lehmann Bernheimer in the 1880s, this historic chair was selected as the throne for Pope John Paul II, by his trusted advisor Archbishop Marcinkus, when His Holiness visited Munich for the Eucharistic World Congress in 1980. 


'Holbein' carpet fragment upholstered walnut armchair, the carpet fragments 16th century, the frame 19th century. Estimate £50,000-100,000 / €68,500-137,000 Photo: Sotheby's.

with gilded lion mask finials, straight backs, arms, square seat and legs joined by stretchers, with 'Holbein' carpet fragment upholstery, including fragments on the seat and back with the open 'Holbein' design, on a green blue ground, with sections of closed Kufesque border, in cream on madder red, and inner border with scrolling vine on brown ground
carpet fragments: back panel approximately 71cm by 68cm; 2ft. 4in., 2ft. 2in.; seat panel: approximately 44cm by 65cm; 1ft. 5in., 2ft. 1in.; and the side fragments are approximately 23cm; 9in.

ExhibitedDie Kunst- und Antiquitatenfirma Bernheimer, Judischen Museums, Munich, November 2007-March 2008, cat. nr. 5.
Armchair used as a throne (with alternative protective damask covering, in Papal colours of white and yellow) on the occasion of the public appearance for the Pontifical Mass in the Theresienwiese square of Pope John Paul II (1920 - 2005), during his visit to Munich, November 1980, for the Eucharistic World Congress, organised by the then Cardinal Paul Marcinkus, President of the Vatican Bank (1971-1989).
Exhibited 'Eastern Carpet in the Western World; from the 15th to 17th century', which coincided with the (ICOC) International Conference of Oriental Carpets, London, 1983.

Literature: Otto Bernheimer, Alte Teppiche des 16 bis 18 Jahrhunderts der Firma L. Bernheimer, Munich, 1959, Nr. 143.
Kurt Erdmann, Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets, London, 1970, pg.55, fig. 49. illustrates armchair, with note `woollen knotted carpet (pieces of a carpet of the type illustrated in fig. 48), Anatolia, 16th century, Munich, L. Bernheimer, Ltd (168). see fig.2.
Emily D. Bilski, Die Kunst- und Antiquitatenfirma Bernheimer, exh. cat., Judischen Museums, Munich, Minerva, 2007, p.42-43, ill.

Comparative Literature

Ferenc Batari, Ottoman Turkish Carpets, Budapest, 1994, Holbein and Lotto rugs, pp.14-17, pp.46-50, pp.95-113, pl. 1-18. 
Charles Grant Ellis, Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, London, 1988, Turkish Carpets, pp.1-115, Nr. 1-12, 'Holbein' and 'Lotto rugs'.
Kurt Erdmann, Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets, London, 1970, pg.55-56, fig. 45, 48 & 49. 
Michael Franses,'Ottoman rugs in the churches of Transylvania:Tracing the origins of the designs', In Praise of God: Anatolian Rugs in Transylvanian Churches, 1500 - 1750, Istanbul, 2007, pp.55-57.
John Mills, Small pattern Holbein carpets in Western Paintings, Hali, 1/4, 1978, p.332., no.30 with further references.
Sarah Sherrill, Carpets and Rugs of Europe and America, New York and London, 1996, Chp.1.,Origins and Oriental Influences, pp.13-27.
Friedrich Spuhler, Oriental Carpets in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, 1988, Turkey, pp.21-29, Holbein carpets, pp.30-32, pp.145-149, pl.1-6.
Friedrich Spuhler, Islamic Carpets and Textiles in the Keir Collection, London, 1978, Chp. 2, Anatolia: The Ottoman Period, pp.33-63, Holbein and Lotto rugs, 34-46.
Daniel Walker, In Pride of Place (John. H. Bryan's Crab Tree Farm, near Chicago), for details on the collection of classical Turkish rugs including Holbein rugs, Hali, No.172, 2012, pp.70-77.
Onno Ydema, Carpets and their datings in Netherlandish Paintings, 1991, pp.27-39. 



The Gobelins Hall at Palais Bernheimer, with the present lot in situ.


Photograph of the present chair in situ from the L. Bernheimer Ltd archive, illustrated Kurt Erdmann, Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets, London, 1970, p.55, fig. 49.

The 'Holbein' rugs like some other Turkish rug types produced in the mid fifteenth to the mid sixteenth century were becoming increasingly popular in Europe, during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and were for local consumption and exported in large quantities to the European market. The specific patterns of imported pieces were associated with the names of the artists that used them most frequently, which included Ghirlandaio, Bellini, Crivelli and Lotto, although all the artists used different design examples. The Holbein rug designs used included the 'small pattern' and 'large pattern' of staggered repeat geometric octagonal patterns and distinctive Kufesque borders. Holbein used these designs in his paintings, for example a large pattern rug appears in The French Ambassadors, National Gallery, London and a small pattern rug appeared in the Portrait of George Gisze, Hans Holbein the Younger, of 1532 (See Fig. 3). 


Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of the Merchant Georg Giese, 1532. Oil and tempera on oak, © Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders

The Holbein rugs show a variety of colours, some combinations being rarer than others, such as a green ground, and the design has variants, such as the large pattern incorporating pointed star medallions ('large star Holbein'). These very expensive, prestigious and precious weavings were used to decorate surfaces due to the status with which they were bestowed, and as is revealed in the paintings in which they are shown.

Ferenc Batari, Ottoman Turkish Carpets, Budapest, 1994, Holbein and Lotto rugs, pp.14-17, pp.46-50, pl. 1-18, and pg.100, pl.6, illustrates an example of a Holbein rug with the rare green ground. See Charles Grant Ellis, Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, London, 1988, Turkish Carpets, pp.34-35, Nr. 11, for examples of a Lotto rug and a comparable fragmentary Holbein rug, Anatolia, 16th century (Islamisches Museum, East Berlin) with comparable design of closed Kufesque border type to present fragments.

Acquired by Otto Bernheimer, this velvet is identical in design to that used in a set of ecclesiastical Mass vestments, now divided between the Victoria and Albert Museum and Keir Collection. 


A large Italian Renaissance voided, pile on pile silk velvet, 16th century. Estimate £120,000-180,000 / €164,000-245,000.  Photo: Sotheby's.

with a large scale pattern of pomegranate ornament in red silk pile of two heights, with silver-gilt threads and bouclé loops, comprised of two joined width panels, each width pieced horizontally
approximately 173cm. high, 133cm. wide (mounted); 158cm. high, 117cm. wide (textile visible); 5ft. 8in., 4ft. 4in. and 5ft. 2in., 3ft. 10in.

Exhibited: Cover of the Weinmuller Sale 1960/1961, Provenance Otto Bernheimer;
Exhibited Die Kunst- und Antiquitatenfirma Bernheimer, Judischen Museums, Munich, November 2007-March 2008, cat. nr. 8. (Retained by the family)

Literature: Cover of the Weinmuller Sale 1960/1961, Provenance Otto Bernheimer;
Exhibited Die Kunst- und Antiquitatenfirma Bernheimer, Judischen Museums, Munich, November 2007-March 2008, cat. nr. 8. (Retained by the family)

Comparative Literature

Giuseppe Cantelli, Il Museo Stibbert a Firenze, II Vols, Milan, 1974, Vol. I.,cat.2046, p.174 & Vol. II, fig.355.
Peggy Stoltz Gilfoy, Fabrics in Celebration from the Collection, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1983, no.96, ill.
Rosalia Bonito Fanelli, Il Museo del Tessuto a Prato: la donazione Bertini, Florence, 1975, cat.7., p.64.
Monique King and Donald King, European Textiles in the Keir Collection 400 BC to 1800 AD, London, 1990, Chp. 5, Medieval and Renaissance Embroidery, 900 - 1550, pp.88-111, No.72-74, pp.108-111.
Christa Charlotte Mayer, Masterpieces of Western Textiles, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1969, pl. 147. 
Lisa Monnas, Renaissance Velvets, London, 2012, pp.120-121, Nr.35.
J. M. Rogers (translated and edited), Hülye Tezcan and Selma Delibas, The Topkapi Saray Museum: Costumes, Embroideries and other Textiles, London, 1986, p.153, pl. no.31 (and detail).
Alice Zrebiec, Textiles in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art,(Winter, 1995-96), p.45. 

Notes: The velvet is identical in design to that used in a set of ecclesiastical Mass vestments, now divided between the Victoria and Albert Museum and Keir Collection, and purchased from Christie's, South Kensington, 27 May 1976.
For discussion of the dalmatic and altar frontal in the Victoria and Albert Museum, see Lisa Monnas, Renaissance Velvets, London, 2012, pp.120-121, Nr.35, Dalmatic, made of crimson pile-on-pile velvet, Italy (possibly Florence) or Spain, mid 16th century (see Fig. 1), with a matching altar frontal, and the accompanying matching dalmatic, cope and chasuble from the same set now in the Keir Collection.


Dalmatic, crimson velvet, mid-16th century (V&A: T.372-1976) © Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

For other related examples to this velvet, which are either identical or very similar, include three fragments (78 by 57.2cm, 76 by 56.1cm and 70.7 by 57cm) in the Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris (10601 A, B & C - unpublished), and a chasuble, Italy, 1500-1550, in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Orville A. and Elina D. Wilkinson Fund (74.117).

There are six other similar variants recorded by Monnas, including: fragments in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; a late fifteenth century altar frontal, Italy, in the Chicago Art Institute; a sixteenth century fragment in the Museo Stibbert, Florence and a Florentine fragment, third quarter of the fifteenth century, in the Museo del Tessuto, Prato; a composite panel (376 by 58.4cm), Italian or Spanish, late fifteenth/early sixteenth century, in the Metropolitan Museum, New York and a comparable swath of a close variant of this velvet design was used for a ceremonial long sleeved kaftan, with gold brocaded crimson velvet, seventeenth century, probably Spanish, belonging to Sultan Ahmed I (1603 -1617), in Istanbul (The Topkapi Saray Museum).

The wonderfully vibrant and large pattern velvet has survived in examples which have been attributed to Florence, Venice and Spain. It has been noted by Roger, Tezcan and Delibas that silks similar to this in design were woven in both Italy and Spain. The style of velvet was also exported to Turkey, and an example found in the surviving kaftan in the Topkapi Saray Museum, which is considered to be Venetian in design, much imitated in contemporary Spain. Italian velvets from the various cities including Florence, Venice and Genoa are difficult to distinguish apart, due to the similar techniques used by all.

In addition to the detailed and comprehensive discussion of early velvets by Monnas, opcit., see Fabrizio de'Marinis (ed),Velvet: History Techniques and Fashions, Milan, 1994, essay, Roberta Orsi Landini, The triumph of velvet: Italian production of velvet in the Renaissance, pp.19-49, for further discussion of the production and processing of velvet, the motifs, uses and fashions including notes on sumptuary laws. Produced in the Renaissance the velvet of the present panel shows no specific reference to Antiquity or to Renaissance designs, but relates to early Late Gothic inspired textiles.




An important gilt-bronze-mounted tulipwood, harewood, holly, fruitwood and marquetry commode by Roger Vandercruse, known as Lacroix (1727-99)Louis XV/XVI Transitional, circa 1770. Estimate £100,000-150,000 / €137,000-205,000.  Photo: Sotheby's.

of gentle breakfront form with a later moulded Spanish brocatello marble top above three frieze drawers mounted with a band of guilloche enclosing flowerheads above two long drawers, the central panel with a wicker basket of flowers on a plinth flanked by panels of floral sprays, the sides similarly inlaid within gilt-bronze foliate cast panels with concave corners applied with a patera, the angles with berried laurel swag mounts, the apron with the mask of Mercury surmounted by drapery and serpents and books on a plinth on cabriole legs cast with acanthus terminating in paw feet, the underside of the top stamped twice R.V.L.C. JME
89cm. high, 128cm. wide, 57.5cm. deep; 2ft. 11in., 4ft. 2 ½in., 1ft. 10 ¾in.

Provenance: Galerie Kraemer, Paris, 1982.

Comparative Literature:
André Boutemy, Meubles Français Anonymes du XVIIIe siècle, Brussels, 1973, pp. 134-137.
Yannick Chastang, Louis Tessier’s Livre de Principes de Fleurs and the eighteenth-century marqueteur, Furniture History, Vol. XLIII (2007), pp.115-126.
Pierre Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1989, pp. 754-755, figs. A, B, D.
Sylvie Legrand-Rossi, Le Mobilier du Musée Nissim de Camondo, Dijon, 2012, pp. 62-64.
Isabelle Néto, Catalogue des Collections, Musée Cognacq-Jay, Le Mobilier, Paris, 2001, pp. 34-35, no. 5 (Inv. J 394).
Alexandre Pradère, Les Ebénistes Français de Louis XIV à la Revolution, Paris, 1989, pp. 280, fig. 301, p. 284, figs 304 and 305.
Franco Maria Ricci, Quelques chefs-d’oeuvre de La Collection Djahanguir Riahi, Ameublement français du XVIIIe siècle, Milan, 1999, pp. 224-225.
Clarisse Roinet, Roger Vandercruse dit La Croix, 1727-1799, Paris, 2000, pp. 70-73.
Pierre Verlet, Le Mobilier Royal Français, Vol. IV, Picard, 1990, pp. 66-67.

This magnificent commode by Roger Vandercruse, of restrained outline, is in the characteristic Transitional style and skilfully inlaid with naturalistic floral sprays and richly ornamented with gilt-bronze mounts. It is part of a group of commodes of the same form with three short frieze drawers and two long drawers with the design contained within three panels either decorated with vases of flowers or `coeurs et losanges entrelacé’ parquetry within gilt-bronze frames with rosettes at the corners and a frieze of guilloche, some of which are recorded as having been made by R.V.L.C. and delivered by Joubertébéniste du roi (1763-1764) in the early 1770's for le Garde Meuble de la Couronne. The mask of Mercury is typical of R.V.L.C.’s production and found on numerous pieces by him.

Although the depiction of flowers, bouquets and baskets often differ on these commodes, the very naturalistic representations of flowers possible derive from engravings by Jean-Jacques-Avril (1744-1831), after the designs of Louis Tessier (c. 1715-1781),`peintre du Roy pour les fleurs’. The first of these Receuils was entitled Livre de Corbeilles et de vases de Fleurs, gravés par Avril, dessinés d’après nature par L. Tessier, Peintre du Roi’. 

The offered commode is very similar to one (of a pair) which was made by Joubert and Roger Vandercruse, otherwise known as Lacroix, for le Grand Cabinet of Madame la Comtesse de Provence at Compiègne, illustrated by Verlet, op. cit., pp. 66-67. The form and sumptuous gilt-bronze mounts are identical to those on this commode apart from the floral decoration which on the illustrated commode are ribbon-tied sprays in bois de bout floral marquetry. The Compiègne pair of commodes were delivered on 25th June 1771 by Joubert for the total sum of 5700 l.

The aforementioned commode is similar to one executed in 1769 for the bedroom of Madame Victoire at Compiègne delivered by Joubert and stamped R.V.L.C. which then was in the le Cabinet à la Poudre of Louis XVI. 

It is also worthwhile considering a related commode`aux enfants marins’ stamped by R.V.L.C. which was delivered by Joubert on 30th September 1771 for le Cabinet de retraite of la comtesse de Provence at Fontainbleau, the sister-in-law of the future Louis XVI, illustrated by Roinet, op. cit., p. 72, reproduced here in fig. 1It has similar decoration to that on the offered commode with a wicker basket of flowers on a plinth in the central panel, flanking floral sprays with elaborate cupid corner mounts and Mercury mask apron mount. It was painted with the inventory number 2636 and the marble and carcass are stencilled with an inventory mark for Fontainebleau, no. 707, and the top of the carcass had an inventory number 51. It was later moved to the apartments of the Duc de Coigny (1737-1821), Marshal of France and then was owned by the Vicomtesse Vigier in Paris. It was subsequently sold from the Collection of Roberto Polo, Sotheby’s, New York, 3rd November 1989, lot 103, and later on was in the Riahi Collection  (the sold again in Magnificent French Furniture, Christie's, New York, 2nd November 2000, lot 50 for ($1,491,000).  


Commode ‘aux enfants’, stamped RVLC, sold Sotheby’s New York, 3rd November 1989, lot 103.

Another very similar example stamped R.V.L.C. in terms of the mounts, although with some variation in the drawer frames and apron mount, with very similar marquetry is in the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris, reproduced here in fig. 2.


Commode by RVLC, circa 1770. Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris © Daniel Lifermann / Musée Cognacq-Jay / Roger-Viollet

A further example is the one attributed to RVLC supplied by Joubert in 1773 (delivery no. 2718) for the bedroom of the Comtesse d'Artois at Versailles  (Duke of Roxburgh's collection, Floors Castle, Kelso, Scotland) illustrated by Pradère, op. cit., p. 284, fig. 304.

Also see a commode stamped R.V.L.C. and J.-F. Leleu in the Musée Nissim Camondo, Paris, with identical mounts but trellis and flowerhead parquetry known as`coeurs et losanges entrelacé’, illustrated by Legrand-Rossi, op. cit., p. 63 (Inv. CAM 339).

Finally, there is also a related commode stamped by RVLC in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Inv. 376: 1,2-1901), with identical mounts, basket of flowers on a plinth in the central panel flanked by panels of trellis parquetry.

Similar commodes stamped by R.V.L.C. sold at auction include:

-a commode with identical mounts and floral sprays and vase of flowers on a plinth, sold Sotheby’s, Monaco, 25th and 26th June 1979, from the Collection Akram Ojjeh, lot 75 (950,000FF), reproduced here in fig. 3.
-a commode with identical mounts but lozenge parquetry, sold Sotheby’s, Monaco, 25th-26th June 1983, lot 298.
-a commode with identical mounts but lozenge parquetry, sold Tajan, Paris, 19th November 2014, lot 287. 


Commode by RVLC, circa 1770, sold from the Collection Akram Ojjeh, Sotheby’s Monaco, 25th June 1979, lot 75.

Roger Vandercruse known as Lacroix (1727-1799): His father was from Flanders with the family name Vandercruse and he is known by his initials R.V.L.C., which he sometimes stamped on his furniture and was a spectacularly successful ébéniste. He  was born in 1727, the son of an independentartisan-ébéniste and received his maîtrise in 1749. A sister was also married to Oeben and after the latter’s death to his successor Riesener. Between 1769 and 1774, he supplied furniture to the Garde-Meuble Royal through Joubert which bore the stamp of R.V.L.C. as Joubert frequently subcontracted his commissions to him. He was an exceedingly skilfull marqueteur and in addition to his work for the Crown, he also worked for private clients the duc d’Orléans, and Madame du Barry.

This magnificent lamp was one of the first electrified art objects, and was acquired by Lehmann Bernheimer at the 1900 L'art à l'exposition universelle in Paris. This acquisition confirms Lehmann’s pioneering vision in purchasing an object at the forefront of innovation, and the lamp took pride of place in the entrance hall at of the Bernheimer Palais on Lenbachplatz. Discovered hidden away in a corner of the basement of the Palais in 1977, when Konrad Bernheimer took over the family business, it is not short of a miracle that ‘La Nature’, a fragile triumph of new technology and design, has survived two world wars.





Frédéric-Eugène Piat (1827-1903), La Nature (Torchère Lumineuse), manufactured by Maison Mottheau et Fils, gilt-bronze and onyx. Estimate £60,000-80,000 / €82,000-109,000.  Photo: Sotheby's.

the upper section with an allegorical figure representing Power and a cockerel representing France above a star studded globe on the back of an eagle  above a globular section with four bulbs recessed amongst clouds and sunbursts on a flaring stem applied with Bacchic cherubs amongst clouds, the stem also cast with a gilt-bronze wings and scrolled boss signed La Nature Exp.on - VNILE-1900 above a turret the base cast with bold fountains, rockwork and foliage on four feet resting on a concave sided square base cast with gecko and foliage, the base signed signed MOTTHEAU PARIS and E. Piat, 1900 
333cm. high; 10ft. 11in.

ProvenancePurchased by Lehmann Bernheimer at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris.
The Entrance Hall at Lenbachplatz, Munich until removed to Marquartstein in 1987.

ExhibitedParis, Exposition Universelle of 1900;
Essen, Villa Hügel, Paris, Belle Epoque, 1880-1914, 1994
Munich, Hypo-Kulturstiftung, 2007
Munich, Judischen Museums, Die Kunst- und Antiquitatenfirma Bernheimer, November 2007-March 2008, cat. nr. 1.


The present lot illustrated in M. M. Babelon, L’Art a l’Exposition Universelle de 1900, Paris, 1900, p.453.

LiteratureMM. Ernest Babelon, L'art à l'exposition Universelle de 1900, Paris, 1846-1912, p. 453, for an engraving of the present model - see fig. 2.
Paris, Belle Epoque, 1880-1914, exh. cat. Kulturstiftung Ruhr, Villa, Hügel, Essen, 11th June-13th November 1994, cat. 21, pp. 226-228.
Emily D. Bilski, Die Kunst-und Antiquitatenfirma Bernheimer, exh. cat., Judischen Museums, Munich, Minerva, 2007, p.39, ill.

Notes: Let this work be a work of harmony, of peace and progress, and if the decoration be ephemeral, let it not be in vain”.Thus began President Loubert’s opening speech at the Exposition Universelle of 1900.

‘La Nature’ perfectly encapsulates this philosophy having been acquired by Lehmann Bernheimer at the 1900 Exhibition in Paris. One of the most stunning and innovative items in the furniture section, ‘La Nature’ by Maison Mottheau is a triumph of new technology and design. This acquisition confirms Lehmann’s vision in purchasing an object at the forefront of innovation – one of the first electrified art objects. His presence alone at the Exposition Universelle confirms his interest in the latest fashions in art and decoration and it is telling that he purchased an object that combines the epitome of gilt-bronze manufacturing on such as large scale, advances in the mechanical manipulation of fragile stones and electrification in a fluid design.  

Frédéric-Eugène Piat (1827-1903) was a renowned French sculpteur-ornemaniste, creating designs and models for clocks, wall-appliques, ceiling and table lamps, candelabras, and torchères. All of his designs were executed by leading Parisianbronziers, such as Christofle, Colin, Lemerle-Charpentier and as in the present example, Maison Mottheau.

Maison Mottheau et fils were renowned Parisian bronziers specializing in lighting fixtures. The Art Journal comments: "The French Section shows many examples of fine work applied under the new conditions, but we doubt if a more complete success is to be recorded to the credit of any exhibitor than can be conceded to Messieurs Mottheau et fils". See: The Art Journal, The Paris Exhibition 1900 - An Illustrated Record of its Art, Architecture and Industrie, London, 1900, pp. 86-7. 

An almost identical model was sold Sotheby's, New York, 28th-29th November 2006, lot 374,($102,000).



Jan Brueghel the Elder (Brussels 1568 - 1625 Antwerpt), Panoramic landscape with travellers with horses carts and cattle on a Sandy road, signed and indistinctly dated lower right: BRUEGHEL 1***, oil on copper, 22.2 by 33 cm.; 8 3/4  by 13 in. Estimate £800,000-1,200,000 / €1,090,000-1,640,000.  Photo: Sotheby's. 

Provenance: Anonymous sale, Paris, Drouot, 27 December 1944, lot 11;
Private collection, France;
Anonymous sale, Paris, Binoche et Godeau, 19 November 1993, lot 80 (as Jan Brueghel the Younger);
With Bob P. Haboldt, New York, 1995 (as Jan Brueghel the Elder);
Private Collection, The Netherlands;
Anonymous sale ('The Property of a Private Collector'), London, Sotheby's, 14 December 2000, lot 8.

ExhibitedNew York, Bob P. Haboldt, Fifty Paintings by Old Masters, 1995, no. 12;
Essen, Villa Hügel; Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Pieter Brueghel der Jüngere–Jan Breughel der Ältere, 26 August 1997–14 April 1998, no. 66;
Phoenix, Art Museum; Kansas City, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; The Hague, Mauritshuis, Copper as Canvas: Two Centuries of Masterpiece Painting on Copper, 1575–1775, 19 December 1998–22 August 1999, under no.8.

LiteratureK. Ertz, Breughel - Brueghel, exhibition catalogue, Lingen 1997, pp. 235–237, cat. no. 66, reproduced p. 236;
M.K. Komanecky, in Copper as Canvas: Two Centuries of Masterpiece Paintings on Copper, 1575–1775, exhibition catalogue, New York 1998, pp. 150–54, part of section 8, reproduced p. 154;
K. Ertz and C. Nitze-Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568–1625). Kritischer Katalog der Gemälde, vol. I,Landschaften mit profanen Themen, Lingen 2008, pp. 150–52, cat. no. 49, reproduced p. 151, fig. 49.

NotesThis work on copper is an archetypal example of Jan Brueghel’s small landscape paintings, characterised by a myriad variety of forms and motifs and bright, intense colours, creating the jewel-like effect so prized in his œuvre. The subject and compositional scheme are typical of Jan Brueghel’s work in the second half of the first decade of the 17th century. It was around this time that the artist executed a number of broadly similar paintings, in which a road with wagons and travellers recedes to the horizon of a low-lying panoramic landscape, often with figures resting by the margins of a wood in the foreground and a town visible in the distance.

These paintings may be considered Brueghel’s ‘pure’ landscapes, in the sense that the staffage does not serve to illustrate an allegorical, mythological or religious story, but is rather a natural part of, and enhancement to, the subject of the landscape itself. David Freedberg and Seymour Slive have both cautioned against the over-interpretation of seventeenth-century Northern landscapes, but it seems relevant to comment on the prominence of the skeleton of a horse in the foreground of the present work, a motif which appears in several of Brueghel’s paintings of this sort.1 The juxtaposition of the skeleton with the live horses pulling wagons and carrying riders perhaps bears some significance with regard to seasonal themes, the passing of time, and life on the land. A number of other elements in the composition are repeated in Brueghel’s wider œuvre. The artist used his own drawing for the man in the left foreground holding a staff and his bag;2 and the dog near this figure occurs in two other paintings, dated 1607, in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (inv. no. 1895) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv. no. 1974.293).3

Ertz considers the point of departure for Brueghel’s mature landscapes, such as this one, to be the Woodland Road in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (inv. no. 1880), dated 1605, which incorporates a secondary allée, or visual path.4 In the landscapes which follow, Brueghel begins to suppress this additional focal point in favour of a more realistic compositional type, giving greater emphasis to the central recession by expanding the road in the foreground and the sky and landscape in the background, to create a wide, open vista. The bird’s-eye-viewpoint which predominated in paintings of the sixteenth century is brought down to an only slightly elevated vantage point, bringing the viewer closer to the scene while maintaining a distance between the spectator and the subject.

Although the date inscribed on this work is no longer legible in its entirety, Ertz dates the present painting to circa 1610, placing it in the orbit of other comparable landscapes on copper, such as one formerly in a private collection, signed and dated 1611.5 The present work would appear to be the prototype for another picture, almost identical in every detail, sold in these Rooms, 21 April 2005, lot 7, which is now accepted by Ertz as autograph, also datable to around 1610.6

This painting exemplifies Brueghel’s extraordinary talent in depicting the illimitable space of seemingly endless vistas on a minute scale. This effect is achieved partly through his use of atmospheric perspective: the brownish-greens of the foreground develop into the richer greens and yellows of the middle-ground, which finally recede into the luminous blues and pale greens of the background. The impression of a kind of telescopic vision is also brought about by the attention to detail to both buildings and foliage in the far distance, which is no less precise than that accorded to the minutiae in the foreground.

The combination of atmospheric perspective and the rendering of infinitesimal detail is one that is substantially dependent on the use of copper as a support. Arguably the most important, talented and prolific European artist to have painted on copper, Brueghel’s significance in the field derives partly from his career-long fascination with using the material as a support. Over half of the artist’s extant œuvre is on copper, and almost half of those paintings depict landscapes. The beaten metal lends luminosity and stability to the colours, while its smoothness allows for miniaturist precision, ensuring that the application of paint does not settle down to a lower surface level, as it would in the weave of a canvas or the grain of a wood panel, but is engaged at once in the description of form. Brueghel is here able to demonstrate to full advantage his uncanny ability to control his brushstrokes on this tiny scale.

An anonymous copy after this painting was with Bier, Haarlem in 1966.7

1. For Freedberg’s study on contemporary viewers’ appreciation of seventeenth-century Northern landscapes, see D. Freedberg, Dutch landscape prints of the seventeenth century, London 1980, p. 23.

2. Chatsworth, Devonshire collection, inv. no. 676.

3. K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere, Cologne 1979, p. 584, cat. no. 158, reproduced p. 150, fig. 157; and p. 582, cat. no. 149, reproduced p. 68, fig. 40.

4. Cologne 1979, p. 576, cat. no. 112, reproduced p. 47, fig. 14.

5. See Ertz, Lingen 2008, under Literature, p. 154, cat. no. 51, reproduced in colour p. 155.

6. Lingen 2008, pp. 152–54, cat. no. 50, reproduced in colour p. 153.

7. See Ertz, Lingen 1997, under Literature, p. 235, under cat. no. 66, reproduced fig. 2, as by a follower of Jan Brueghel.


Jan Brueghel the Elder (Brussels 1568 - 1625 Antwerp) and Jan Brueghel the Younger (Antwerp 1601 - 1678), Still life of tulips, roses, narcissi, forget-me-nots, a carnation and other flowers in a glass vase, resting on a table with a sprig of rosemary and an insect. Oil on copper, 30.5 by 20.7 cm.; 12 by 8. in. Estimate £200,000-300,000 / € 273,000-409,000.  Photo: Sotheby's.

Provenance: Charrière de Severy, Château de Severy, Lausanne;
Private collection, Switzerland;
With Bob Haboldt, Paris, from whom purchased in 2001 by a private collector;
By whom anonymously sold, ('Property of a private collector'), New York, Sotheby's, 24 January 2008, lot 54. 

LiteratureC. Salvi, D'après nature. La nature morte en France au XVIIe siècle, Tournai 2000, p. 8, as Jan Brueghel the Elder;
K. Ertz & C. Nitze-Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568-1625). Kritischer Katalog der Gemälde, vol. III, Blumen, Allegorien, Historie, Genre, Gemäldeskizzen, Lingen 2008–10, p. 901, cat. no. 427,  reproduced p. 903, as Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan Brueghel the Younger.

Notes; This painting is a fascinating example of the collaboration of Jan Brueghel the Younger and his father, and will be included in the forthcoming addendum to the catalogue raisonné of the works of Jan Brueghel the Younger by Klaus Ertz. 

Jan the Younger trained in his father's studio and began painting flower pieces at an early age. Many of his still lifes are either modeled on paintings by his father or derivations of his compositions. In 1622 he traveled to Italy and stayed in Milan with Cardinal Federico Borromeo. The Cardinal was his father's patron and the man for whom he had painted his first flower piece, the Large Bouquet of Flowers in an Earthenware Vase, now in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan. In the spring of 1624 Jan the Younger went to Palermo with his friend from childhood, Anthony van Dyck, but returned to Antwerp in 1625 on the death of his father, two sisters and a brother from cholera.  

Ertz points out that while most of Still Life of Tulips and Roses in a Glass Vase is executed in a relatively loose manner characteristic of Jan the Younger, some details are tighter and more controlled.1 He points especially to the treatment of the tulips, which are finely painted and very three-dimensional in form, as the work of Jan the Elder.2 As a collaborative work, the painting must date from the early 1620s, while Jan the Younger was still in his father's studio and before he departed for Italy. 

In a variant of the present work, Flowers in a Glass Vase with a Poem, the bouquet and setting are the same, but there is a poem about the ephemeral nature of worldly things, on a sheet of paper attached to the ledge. The painting was formerly given to Jan Brueghel the Elder, but Ertz has reattributed it to Jan Brueghel the Younger.3 Thus rather than following Flowers in a Glass Vase with a PoemStill Life of Tulips and Roses in a Glass Vase is the prime version of this composition, executed by Jan Brueghel II under the direction of and with the assistance of his father.

1. K. Ertz, written report, January 6, 1998. 

2. Ertz 1998. 

3. S. Segal, A Flowery Past. A Survey of Dutch and Flemish Flower Painting from 1600 until the Present, exhibition catalogue, Amsterdam and Hertogenbosch 1982, p. 22, fig. 6, as Jan Brueghel the Elder. K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568–1625). Die Gemälde mit kritischem Oeuvrekatalog, Cologne 1979, p. 530, note 350, as Jan Brueghel the Younger and K. Ertz,Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601–1678). The Paintings with Oeuvre Catalogue, Luca 1984, vol. I, pp.72 and 442–43, as Jan the Younger.


Claude-Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714 - 1789 Paris), A Moonlit Seascape, signed, dated and inscribed on the barrel lower right: Joseph Vernet f./ massila/ 1754. Oil on canvas, 101 by 138 cm.; 39. by 54 in. Estimate £400,000-600,000 / €545,000-820,000.  Photo: Sotheby's.

Provenance: Private collection, France;
From whom acquired by the present owner.

NotesExecuted in 1754 in Marseille, this newly discovered moonlit seascape belongs to a pivotal moment in the artist’s career. Vernet had returned from Rome the previous year after nearly two decades abroad, in order to work on a series of monumental topographical paintings of major French commercial and military seaports for Louis XV, in what was one of the most important commissions of his reign. Of the two dozen paintings envisioned, only fifteen were finished, although Diderot would praise their 'immense detail and prodigious execution'.1 Two of the earliest of these port scenes, also painted in 1754, were of Marseille. One, today in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, shows the entrance to the port and the other, in the Musée National de la Marine, the interior of the port.2 Although more romanticised and atmospheric, and on a smaller scale and thus of a different character to these topographical views, the present work may reflect their influence in its desire to incorporate what the perceptive viewer might recognise as landmarks local to Marseille, the city in which Vernet first discovered his fascination with the ocean. The lighthouse visible in the distance recalls that near the fort of Saint Jacques at the harbour’s entrance and the cylindrical tower and block-like mass of the castle at the right are reminiscent of the Château d’If. Vernet also localises the place of execution with the inscription ‘Massila’, a corruption of the Latin name for the port. In this way the painting suggests a fusion of the well-tried compositional formulae developed by Vernet in Italy, with local references taken from his studies of the area around Marseilles.

Although the earliest history of the painting remains uncertain, there are two references in Vernet’s livre de raison, both for Irish collectors on the Grand Tour, which may relate to this work, corresponding as they do in date, size and subject matter. Both commissions were for sets of four large toile de l’empereur canvasses representing the Times of Day.3 The first of these commissions specified a 'clair de lune', or moonlit scene, and was for Sir Joseph Henry (1727–96), of Lodge Park, County Kildare, who was based in Rome between 1750 and 1761.4 The four paintings by Vernet, recorded in his collection in 1775, were ordered through the architect and art agent Matthew Brettingham. The second corresponding commission recorded in 1754 was for James Caulfield, 4th Viscount Charlemont, (1728–99), founder of an Academy for English artists in Rome, who passed through the South of France on his way back to Ireland from Italy.5

The present work is notable for its accomplished rendering of the dual light sources, with the cool, diffuse moonlight contrasting beautifully with the glow of the flames at the right. The composition, consisting of a group of fisherfolk surrounding a fire on a rocky promontory against the open sea, with landmarks only partly visible through the haze and a man-of-war at anchor on the calm reflective water, has been meticulously balanced. The success of this formula is demonstrated by its frequent reoccurrence in other of Vernet's moonlit views, painted throughout his career. A moonlit seascape commissioned by Madame du Barry in 1771, now in the Musée du Louvre, is perhaps the closest to ours, depicting all of the aforementioned elements, as well as the motif of beached anchor and fisherman leaning against a barrel.6

1. Cited in F. Ingersoll-Smouse, Joseph Vernet, Peintre de Marine, Paris 1926, vol. I, p. 25.

2. Inv. nos. 8293 and 8294 respectively. Ingersoll-Smouse 1926, vol. I, p. 79, cat. nos. 650 and 568, reproduced figures 121 and 122.

3. The ‘toile de l’empereur’ canvas measured approximately 100 by 136 cm.

4. See Vernet’s La Livre de Verité, published in L. Legrange, Joseph Vernet, Paris 1864, p. 338, no. 147.

5. Legrange 1864, p. 339, no. 155.

6. Musée du Louvre (inv. no.  8334), see Ingersoll-Smouse 1926, vol. II, p. 21, cat. no. 934, reproduced figure  233.

The Bernheimer lapidarium contains a wealth of European stone objects spanning centuries, from Antiquities to Neoclassical sculpture and architectural pieces, many of which were bought by Lehmann Bernheimer and displayed in the Italian courtyard of the Bernheimer Palais on Lenbachplatz. 

This spectacular portal is the largest architectural piece from the Bernheimer lapidarium that remains in the possession of the family. Carved in limestone in the style of Florentine Renaissance architecture, the portal was bought by Lehmann Bernheimer and his sons for the Italian Courtyard at the Bernheimer Palais. Until recently, it was the centrepiece of the Great Gallery at Burg Marquartstein. 




Italian, in late 15th-century Style, Portal surround with a tympanum with a coat of arms, inscribed: 8/56/0079 in pencil to the base of one of the columns, limestone, 384 by 241 by 37cm., 151 1/4  by 94 7/8  by 14 5/8 in. Estimate £50,000-70,000 / €68,500-95,500.  Photo: Sotheby's. 

Provenance: Inventory of L. Bernheimer, at Palais Bernheimer, Lenbachplatz, Munich 

Notes: This spectacular portal surround is the largest architectural piece from the Bernheimer lapidarium that remains in the possession of the family. Carved in limestone in the style of Florentine Renaissance architecture and decorated with classical ornament, grotesques and a coat of arms, the portal was until recently the centrepiece of the Great Gallery at Burg Marquartstein.

The overall design of the portal surround is consistent with 15th-century Florentine architectural modes, which came to be adopted across Northern Italy during the Renaissance. Sculptor-architects such as Brunelleschi and Donatello employed the same classicising design to frame sculpture niches, lavabos, and tabernacles in and outside Florentine churches: Fluted pilaster columns with ornate composite capitals are surmounted by a frieze with floral or figurative motifs on which rests a tympanum, framed by ornamental beams with carved decorations such as dentil moulding.

Stone surrounds of this kind were used not only in ecclesiastical contexts but also in Renaissance homes, both outside and inside palazzi as door or window frames. This dual use is mirrored by the present portal’s history in the Bernheimer collection, as it was transferred from an outdoor setting in the Italian Courtyard of the Palais Bernheimer to the interior of Burg Marquartstein. An example of an elaborately carved stone doorway from the interior of an Italian Renaissance palace survives at the Victoria and Albert Museum; the entrance to the main hall of the Palazzo Ducale in Gubbio (inv. no. 101:13-1886). Another stone portal surround from a palazzo which is almost identical in its composition to the Bernheimer portal is illustrated by Lucy Abbot Throop in her publication on historical interiors (op. cit., p. 9). It too features a tympanum in which two putti are holding a coat of arms, which appears to be that of the Medici, suggesting that this portal surround was photographed in Florence.

Despite its similarities to Florentine examples, it is unlikely that the Bernheimer portal originates from Renaissance Florence. Almost all Tuscan pieces of this kind are made from marble or a grey sandstone known as pietra serena, contrasting with the whitish limestone used for the present portal. The carvings, though imaginative and accomplished, are also distinct from the refined and highly naturalistic style found in Florence. Instead, the figures in the grotesque frieze of the Bernheimer portal, being rather stocky and angular, are comparable to Lombard carvings, such as those on the portal of S. Maria dei Miracoli in Brescia from circa 1488-1500 (Courtauld op. cit., nos 2/8/3 to 2/8/10). The more common use of limestone in Lombardy and its neighbouring regions in Northern Italy, as well as its adoption of Florentine architectural forms during the 15th century, as seen in the similarly composed portal of the Palazzo Ducale in Revere, suggest that the Bernheimer portal could originate from this part of Italy.

Despite this, the possibility that the Bernheimer portal is a highly accomplished work from the 19th century in the Renaissance style cannot be excluded. The general composition of the capitals, with ionic scrolls, acanthus leaves and an arched top edge, compares well to numerous Renaissance examples, including the Istrian stone pilaster consoles from Senigallia at the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. nos 368G to N, P, Q, R, T-1878). However the particular appearance of the helmets and the female masks at the top may be said to be inconsistent with 15th- and 16th-century styles. The same observation can be made about the two putti bearing a coat of arms on the tympanum, as well as the general style of carving.

The revival of Renaissance architecture among the European and American elite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries created a market not only for architectural fragments from the Italian Renaissance that had been removed from their original settings, but also for newly made pieces carved at a high standard on the basis of Renaissance example. As Abbot Throop’s above-mentioned publication from 1920 suggests, the form of the present portal, with fluted pilasters and a tympanum, was an influential model for architects around the turn of the 20th century. It is evident from other pieces in the collection that Lehmann Bernheimer and his sons bought high-quality 19th-century copies and pastiches as well as Renaissance originals for the Italian Courtyard at the Palais Bernheimer.

Whether it is a Renaissance original or a 19th-century work in the Renaissance style, the Bernheimer portal surround remains an elaborate and imposing interior centrepiece of a kind which only rarely comes to the present market.

L. Abbot Throop, Furnishing the home of good taste: a brief sketch of the period styles in interior decoration, with suggestions as to their employment in the homes of today, New York, 1920; W. Bode, Florentine Sculptors of the Renaissance, New York, 1969; Courtauld Institute Illustration Archives. Archive 2. 15th & 16th century Sculpture in Italy. Part 8. Lombardy, London, 1978

These impressive bronze lions once flanked the doors of the great Bernheimer Palais on Munich’s Lenbachplatz. It is thought that they were inspired by the iconic bronze lions outside the Bavarian royal residence. 



The Bernheimer Lions, South German or Italian, 19th century. Estimate £50,000-100,000 / €68,500-137,000.  Photo: Sotheby's.

bearing escutcheons with coats of arms, which can probably be identified as those of the Ottolini-Visconti of Milan; bronze, on composite stone bases, 147 by 135cm., 57 7/8  by 53 1/8 in. overall.

Provenance: Inventory of L. Bernheimer, at Palais Bernheimer, Lenbachplatz, Munich 

Notes: These magnificent bronze lions are inspired by the four monumental beasts which guard the gates of the west facade of the Residenz in Munich. Created by the celebrated Mannerist sculptors Hubert Gerhard (circa 1540/1550-1620) and Carlo di Cesare del Palagio (1538-1598), with vast escutcheons designed by Hans Krumper (circa 1570-1634), the Residenz beasts were originally intended for the tomb of Wilhelm V, Duke of Bavaria (1548-1629), and his wife Renata of Lorraine (1544-1602). When Wilhelm abdicated in 1597, however, the monument was abandoned and the lions dispersed, until they were positioned outside the Residenz by Wilhelm's son and successor, Duke Maximilian I (1573-1651). Dorothea Diemer has attributed the two lions flanking the North Gate to Hubert Gerhard, due to their relatively docile, trusting, expressions, whilst she has argued that the beasts guarding the South Gates can be ascribed to Carlo di Cesare del Palagio on the basis of their more agonistic, snarling, faces, which accord with the sculptor's wider oeuvre (Diemer, op. cit., vol. i, p. 319).

The present lions, with their creased, snarling, noses, and dynamic poses, turning towards each other, correspond more closely with those attributed by Diemer to Palagio, than to Gerhard's beasts. Whilst the Gerhard/ Palagio creatures clearly serve as the models for the Bernheimer Lions (they sit on the same shallow moulded plinths, with enormous shields inspired by Krumper's escutcheons), they do not follow their 16th-century equivalents slavishly. Rather, the manes are less stylised, and the tails are positioned differently to the Munich beasts, in crossing over the tops of the seated hind legs, as opposed to beneath and behind them. The slightly more naturalistic appearance of the Bernheimer lions may possibly be explained by the innovations in animalier sculpture made in the 19th century, chiefly by the French sculptor Antoine Louis Barye (1795-1875). The coats of arms supported by the Bernheimer lions are probably those of the Ottolini-Visconti family from Milan. Whilst this may indicate a North Italian origin for the Bernheimer lions, it seems more likely that they were cast in Munich, given the fact that they are inspired by famously Bavarian models. Revivals of great models from the Renaissance were much in vogue in the 19th-century, with the Bernheimer lions undoubtedly having been intended to guard the gates to a great residence, in the same way that heraldic beasts served to adorn European palaces throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. The Bernheimer Lions were recorded outside the Courtyard Entrance to the Palais Bernheimer by the early 20th century.

J. R. Bliss, 'A gilt-bronze statuette of a heraldic lion from the circle of Hubert Gerhard', Source Notes in the History of Art, Vol. 28, No. 4, Summer 2009, pp. 16-23; D. Diemer, Hubert Gerhard und Carlo di Cesare del Palagio. Bronzeplastiker der Spätrenaissance, Berlin, 2002–2004, vol. i, p. 319, vol. ii, pp. 229, 372-376; J. Chipps-Smith, German Sculpture of the Later Renaissance c. 1520-1580. Art in the Age of Uncertainty, Princeton, 1994

Formerly in the collection of Cardinal Bartolomeo Pacca (1756-1844), this Roman sarcophagus was acquired by Otto Bernheimer in 1930. 




A marble garland sarcophagus and lid of Publius Palaus Primitivus, Roman Imperial, circa A.D. 170. Estimate £50,000-70,000 / €68,500-95,500.  Photo: Sotheby's.

carved in front with three erotes holding a large filleted garland laden with fruit, confronted theater masks in the lunettes, a satyr at left and a maenad at right, a seated griffin in low relief on each short side; the gabled lid, probably belonging, decorated in front with twin panels, each showing two reclining erotes holding a garland, on either side of a central framed panel of inscription carved with five lines of Latin inscription, D(IS) M(ANIBUS).  P(UBLIO) PALAO PRIMITIVO P(UBLIUS) PALAUS HERMES ET AEMILIA ATTALIS ALUMNO KARISSIMO (“To the Spirits of the Departed. Publius Palaus Hermes and Aemilia Attalis [had this sarcophagus made] for their most cherished foster son Publius Palaus Primitivus). 55.5 x 46 x 150.5cm; 1ft. 9½in., 1ft. 6in., 4ft. 11in.

Provenance:Cardinal Bartolomeo Pacca (1756-1844), Villa Pacca, probably found during the cardinal’s excavations at Ostia in the 1830s;

Baron Maximilian von Heyl (1844-1925), Darmstadt;

Hugo Helbing, Munich, Katalog der Sammlung Baron Heyl, Darmstadt. Vol. II: Sammlung antiker Kunst, Darmstadt, October 30th, 1930, no. 32, pl. 14.

Literature:Friedrich Matz and Franz v. Dühn, Antike Bildwerke in Rom, vol. III, Leipzig, 1882, p. 207, no. 3969;                            

Herrmann Dessau, Inscriptiones Latii veteres latinae (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. XIV), Berlin, 1887, p. 146, no. 445;

Deutsches archäologisches Institut, Rome, neg. nos. (19)79.1783-1787;

G. Koch - H. Sichtermann, Römische Sarkophage, Munich, 1982, p. 231, no. 21
Symposium über die Antiken Sarkophage: Pisa 5.-12. September 1982 (Marburger Winckelmann-Programm 1984), p. 24;

H. Herdejürgen, “Girlandensarkophage aus Ostia”, in Roman Funerary Monuments in the J. Paul Getty Museum, vol. I (Occasional Papers on Antiquities, vol. 6), Malibu, 1990, p. 107f., fig. 15a-b;

H. Herdejürgen, Die dekorativen römischen Sarkophage. Stadtrömische und italische Girlandensarkophage. Die Sarkophage des 1. und 2. Jahrhunderts (Antike Sarkophagreliefs, vol. 6, 2,1), Berlin, 1996, pp. 69, 72f., and 133, no. 90, pls. 88,2.5; 89,4; 92,1.2;

Arachne, no. 12661 (http://arachne.uni-koeln.de/item/objekt/12661)

The attics of Burg Marquartstein encapsulate a significant part of Bernheimer’s history, storing hundreds of wooden furniture fragments and architectural elements which were used as models by their talented workshops in the great emporium at Lenbachplatz in the first half of the 20th century. The models were utilised to create decorative settings and pieces of furniture in a multitude of historical styles. The Attics also comprise collections of locks and furniture bronze mounts revealing the quality and expertise of these workshops.