Rare find available at Phoebus Auction Monday, May 31

by | May 6, 2021 | Trending News

The auction business can be an historian’s dream come true. People and Items connected to the events of history constantly appear. Provenance is a constant attraction. These people and events occupy the auctioneer’s thoughts and efforts, with family stories expanding into a new view of past events.

Phoebus Auction recently received a unique and heavily carved desk and bookcase to be included in its Memorial Day Auction.

The items had been the property of the Chief Rabbi Zsigmond Groszmann of the Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary in the years prior to World War II. The desk and bookcase were created in 1928 by Hungarian Master Carver Ullman. The desk apron depicts a scene from Exodos 17 as Moses strikes the rock in the Desert of Sin and water gushes forth. Moses is joined by his Brother Aaron and the jubilant Israelites.

This marked the creation of Miriam’s Well (Be’erah shel Miriam) the name of the spring that miraculously provided water and accompanied the Israelites throughout the 40 years they traveled in the wilderness. Detailed carvings of Atlas support the ends of the double pedestal desk. Family lore has the desk removed to Austria after the war and then brought to the United States.

The Bookcase, also attributed to Ullman, is of massive scale with three heavily carved sections. Intricately carved blind doors feature Jeremiah, mourning the loss of the First Temple in the manner painted by Rembrandt. The right door represents a carving of Moses as by Michelangelo from the Tomb of Pope Julius II, Church, San Pietro in Rome. Each carving has overlays of garlands and ribbons and is supported by Griffins. Additionally, more carvings of Griffin faces cover other surfaces of the bookcase. The center door is beveled glass with arched top. The top of the case is supported by muscular carvings of the Greek Titan ATLAS. The base is supported by massive animal paw feet. The scope of the carvings and their massive scale make this a monumental work of art.

The desk and bookcase may be viewed at the Phoebus Auction Gallery through May 31. The Auction will be conducted at the Phoebus Auction Gallery at 18 E Mellen St. in Hampton, beginning at 10 am on Monday, May 31. Preview is the Thursday through Sunday prior to Memorial Day, 11 am–5 pm. http://www.phoebusauction.com.

Phone tag starts at 757-722-9210; ask for Bill.