The Family’s Copy, Privately Printed

Verzeichniss der von Speck’schen Gemälde-Sammlung mit darauf Beziehung habenden Steindrücken. Herausgegeben und mit historisch-biographischen Bemerkungen begleitet vom Besitzer derselben.

Fine lithographed port. of the collector & 18 fine plates (eight lithographed & ten engraved). 2 p.l., 47, [1] pp., one leaf of errata. Folio, orig. printed limp boards (minor foxing, spine worn). [Leipzig?]: 1826.


—. Zweites Verzeichniss der Gemälde-Sammlung sowie der vorzüglichsten Handzeichnungen, Kupferstiche, Kupferstichwerke und plastischen Gegenstände des Freiherrn v. Speck-Sternburg…Heraugegeben und mit historisch-biographischen Bemerkungen und Erklärungen begleitet vom Besitzer derselben. Finely engraved front. port. of the collector & 19 plates (six are lithographed & 13 engraved, some with foxing). 3 p.l., 186 pp. Large 4to, orig. half-calf & printed boards, spine nicely gilt, red leather lettering piece on spine. Leipzig: K. Tauchnitz, 1837.

First editions, privately printed, and the best record of the magnificent collection of paintings, drawings, engravings, and illustrated books in the collection of Maximilian Speck von Sternburg (1776-1856), wool merchant, agricultural innovator, collector, sponsor of art and museums, and writer on art history. “Between 1807 and 1832 he purchased many of the best paintings, drawings and copper-engravings from the collections of Gottfried Winckler and Johann Thomas Richter in Leipzig and Dr de Burin in Brussels. He also acquired works from the Custiniani and Valenti collections in Rome, the collections of Le Brun, Glume and Clos in Paris and from the estates of various Viennese nobles. The main emphasis of Speck von Sternburg’s collection was on 17th-century Dutch and Flemish works, though selected paintings by contemporary European artists…were also included.”–Oxford Art online. The collection was kept in the family’s castle of Lützschena near Leipzig and the galleries became a well-known tourist attraction.

The collection, which included works by Cranach the Elder, Rubens, Hals, and Caspar David Friedrich, remained intact until a number of the best pieces were expropriated after World War II by the East German Communist government and transferred to the Museum der Bildenden Künste in Leipzig (ironically, a museum Speck helped to found). In 1994, the collection was returned to the family, which established a foundation that lends to local museums.

The first catalogue, of which there was a second issue a year later, describes 188 paintings. The second catalogue contains descriptions of 275 paintings, 194 drawings, 14 sculptures, 231 engravings, and an extensive library.

A number of the plates were executed by Speck von Sternburg’s wife, Charlotte (1787-1836), an accomplished engraver and lithographer (see Oxford Art online).

Fine set from the family library at Lützschena, with its large stamp on the free front-endpapers of each volume. A separate proof of the portrait of Speck von Sternburg found in Vol. II has been laid in.

Price: $3,500.00

Item ID: 6942

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