COLLECTION GEORG SCHUSTER
In the September auction, NEUMEISTER is offering several works of art that come from the famous Georg Schuster collection. In the course of cataloguing these objects, a photo album emerged from the possession of the consignors, the contents of which are themselves a minor art historical sensation. The album contains what are probably the only pictorial documents relating to the auction of the Schuster collection, which took place on March 17 and 18, 1938, at the renowned art dealer Julius Böhler in Brienner Strasse in Munich. The photos show the representative sales rooms of the Palais with the objects displayed for preview.
The auction of the Schuster collection of South German works of art from the late Middle Ages to the Baroque was considered by "Weltkunst" to be "the great event of the year" in 1938. The proceeds of the sale "exceeded the highest expectations.
Who was Georg Schuster?
Born on June 15, 1869, the son of a blacksmith near Amberg in the Upper Palatinate, Georg Schuster completed an apprenticeship as a wood sculptor in Munich after elementary school and then found employment in the gilding workshop of Josef Radspieler. Because of his outstanding craftsmanship, he was soon put in charge of the so-called "assistants" there. In his private life, Schuster had a great interest in medieval sculpture and in his free time he pursued intensive self-study of art history, especially of the old masters. Around 1900, he set up his own workshop as a restorer and developed into an outstanding connoisseur, with whom art collectors and museum directors came and went. As one of the first restorers, he endeavored to uncover and secure the remains of old versions of medieval figures. He turned down offers from Wilhelm von Bode to move to Berlin as a professor and restorer.
He laid the foundation of his own collection at the age of 26. He developed into a passionate collector and was constantly on the lookout for late Gothic, old German, and above all old Bavarian works of art. Although he had only manageable means at his disposal, he assembled a collection of outstanding artistic merit with a keen sense of quality and a high level of expertise. He kept the collection largely under lock and key and communicated with only a few experts. He did not make the pieces public, either in specialist literature or in exhibitions, until 1936, when he decided, with the support of the art historian and art critic Hubert Wilm, to publish a catalog of the pictorial works in his collection, which appeared together with a biographical sketch of the collector in 1937. Georg Schuster himself did not live to see the publication of this booklet. The restorer and collector died completely unexpectedly on January 16, 1937, as a result of an operation in Munich.
THRONENDE MADONNA SÜDDEUTSCH, 13. JH.
Linde, rückseitig geflacht, auf Rückbrett montiert.
H. (mit Sockel) 64,5 cm
AUKTION 410 // LOT 196
SCHÄTZPREIS € 20.000 – 25.000
Provenienz: Sammlung Georg Schuster, München – 17./18.6.1936 Auktion Paul Graupe Berlin „Aus dem Besitz der Firma A. S. Drey (Räumungsverkauf)“, lot 113 (mit Provenienzangabe „aus Sammlung Gg. Schuster, München“, dort unverkauft) – 1937 Sammlung Georg Schuster, München – 17./18.3.1938 Auktion Julius Böhler „Sammlung Georg Schuster“, lot 2 – Objektkarteikarte Nr. 5775 aus der Münchner Kunsthandlung Julius Böhler, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, München (http://boehler.zikg.eu/wisski/ navigate/265902/view) – 1938 Dr. Paul Schwäbel, Heidelberg – 29.8.1958 Verkauf durch Julius Böhler, München - aus dem Nachlass eines Münchener Sammlerehepaares – 2023 Restitution an die Erben nach A.S. Drey.
Wir danken Dr. Imke Gielen, Kanzlei von Trott zu Solms Lammek/Berlin, für freundliche Unterstützung im Rahmen der Restitutionsverhandlungen. Ebenso danken wir Dr. Stephan Klingen, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte München, für Unterstützung im Rahmen der Provenienzrecherche.
It was only after Georg Schuster's death that the full extent of the collection became visible, which, in addition to the pictorial works described by Wilm, also included paintings and a wide variety of decorative art objects, including textiles. The great wealth of materials and techniques in the Schuster collection is impressively demonstrated by the unique photographs of the exhibition at Palais Böhler that have now surfaced. Georg Schuster's heirs had entrusted the auction of the estate to the art dealer Julius Böhler, who had also established himself since 1936 in the auction market, which at that time - not least due to the anti-Semitic repressions of the Nazis against Jewish art dealers and collectors - underwent an enormous structural change.
The March 1938 auction was indeed a spectacular success. It included a top offer of over 600 largely "market-fresh" objects in good condition, some with original mounts, many pieces untouched. The auction included masterpieces of German sculpture from the 12th to the 19th century, including works by Hans Leinberger, Hans Multscher, Tilman Riemenschneider Egid Quirin Asam, Ignaz Günther and Johann Wenzeslaus Jorhan, as well as ivory works, stone and clay sculpture, German and French figurative bronzes, and paintings from the 15th to the 19th century and handicrafts of ceramics, glass, jewelry and more.
Weltkunst wrote about it on March 20: "...the hall could not hold all the participants. The museum directors were probably pretty much all present. We saw the directors Buchheit-Munich, Demmler-Berlin, Kohlhausen-Nuremberg, Feulner-Cologne, Schnitzler-Cologne, Boll-Regensburg, Noack-Freiburg, Hupp-Düsseldorf, Graf Solms-Frankfurt, and many others." The great institutional interest was complemented by the involvement of numerous prominent collectors and art dealers, as evidenced by a copy of the auction catalog preserved in the Central Institute for Art History, which includes the names of the buyers in addition to the prices realized. As Edda Bruckner has determined in her as yet unpublished master's thesis (LudwigMaximilians-Universität Munich) on the Böhler auctions, the highest result of the four auctions held by Julius Böhler was achieved at the auction of the Schuster Collection, with a hammer price of nearly RM 600,000. Nevertheless, this success marks the end of the auction activities of the Julius Böhler art dealer. Today, the Georg Schuster collection is scattered in museums and private collections worldwide.
However, individual pieces from the spectacular collection also appear in stores time and again - like now.