Exhibition and Catalogue Celebrate the launch of the renowned Paris gallery’s third decade offering rare Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts and Works of Art to the world’s most discerning Museums, Libraries and Private Collectors.
Galerie Les Enluminures 20th Anniversary Catalogue will present 20 works sold to museums over the last 20 years as well as 20 works of art available for sale now,…..the latter displayed in a stunning Exhibition in the Paris gallery Sep 6 – Nov 27.
LES ENLUMINURES (www.lesenluminures.com) opened its doors in the Louvre des Antiquaires in Paris in September 1991. Since then, it has moved three times, each time to a different (and bigger) space in the Louvre des Antiquaires, which is directly opposite The Louvre Museum.
In announcing its Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition and Catalogue, “20 / 20 Les Enluminures 1991 – 2011,” founder and owner Sandra Hindman, says, “This catalogue and accompanying exhibition celebrate 20 years of activity and provide an overview of the history of the gallery Les Enluminures. By including in the catalogue 20 works sold to high-profile collections and 20 works available for sale today ---- the latter also exhibited in the gallery ----we hope to spark greater interest in Medieval manuscripts, and perhaps attract a new generation of collectors and connoisseurs. The exhibition will open September 6th and continue to through November 27th.”
Les Enluminures specializes in Medieval illuminated manuscripts, including Books of Hours, text manuscripts, illuminated manuscript leaves and cuttings, works of art, and Medieval and Renaissance rings.
Dr. Sandra Hindman is Professor Emerita at Northwestern University, where she twice headed the Art History Department. A specialist in Gothic and Northern Renaissance Art, it was her years spent studying Medieval manuscripts that sparked her interest in acquiring key pieces, which led to her opening her Paris gallery. In the early years she maintained her academic career, shuttling back and forth between Paris and Chicago.
She says, “When I worked as an expert for other dealers and handled these manuscripts on a daily basis, I gradually came to realize how coupling my academic knowledge with the purchase and sale of medieval art could lead to a shift in my career. Indeed, though, I feel like being a dealer and being an academic, for me anyway, are two parts of the same thing, my left arm and my right arm, so to speak. I still write, publish, and teach, at the same time that I help museums and private collectors find important works for their collections.”
Les Enluminures clients include private individuals as well as major museums and libraries throughout the world. Many have come to know Les Enluminures from its participation in the most prestigious art fairs including those in Maastricht, New York, London, Paris and San Francisco.
Within Europe the Musée du Louvre, the Musée Nationale du Moyen Age, the British Library, the Bibliothèques municipales at Metz and Rennes, among others, are all clients.
Hindman says, “In 1992, the J. Paul Getty Museum acquired a miniature by Bartolomeo Rigossi da Gallarate that adorned the front cover of the very first catalogue Les Enluminures published (FIG 1.). That same year The Musée du Louvre bought two fifteenth-century drawings of deer from a model book—now connected with a painting by Pisanello (FIG 2.). Later in 2006, the Louvre bought an extraordinary miniature of the Adoration of the Magi by Jean Bourdichon (FIG 3), one of less than a dozen miniatures from the dismembered Hours of Louis XII. It gives me great pleasure when I come across a missing leaf or cutting from an important early manuscript or discover that I am able to identify an artist previously not linked to an illumination. That kind of discovery is key to enjoying these early manuscripts.”
“An enchanting calendar page for the month of May by Giovan Pietro Birago from the Sforza Hours, stolen in the fifteenth century, rejoined its parent manuscript when the British Library acquired it in 2004 (FIG 4). And two exceptionally rare medieval rings, one Merovingian (FIG 10) and the other Ottonian (FIG 11), have recently been placed on display in the Musée Nationale du Moyen Age (FIGS.)”
“In the United States, the University of Chicago acquired in 2008 an illuminated copy of the Roman de la Rose, a manuscript that had been separated from another work with which it was bound for exactly 100 years (FIG 5).”
Today, Les Enluminures has on offer one of the few remaining miniatures in private hands from the Hours of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenberg, c. 1522-23, a manuscript that once set a record price for a Book of Hours at auction; painted by Simon Bening, the miniature depicts the Cardinal himself in the guise of St. Jerome (FIG 6). Other miniatures from this manuscript are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Lehman Collection) and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
Among the illuminated manuscripts for sale at Les Enluminures, there is a grand Choir Book illuminated by the Olivetan Master, one of only two full codices by this artist, whose work exists mostly in cuttings and single sheets; the manuscript preserves the original binding of the Olivetan monastery (FIGS 7).
Hindman adds that, “Another noteworthy art work is a splendid Book of Hours by Master of Jean Charpentier, a collaborator of Bourdichon, made for a woman named Katherina, possibly Charpentier’s wife (FIG.). There is also a beautiful and rare Greek Prayer Roll from Mount Athos (FIG 8).”
Les Enluminures is well known for its selection of Medieval Finger Rings, a subject that attracted Hindman, who had grown up admiring the unique shapes, varied stones and delicate designs of the Victorian rings her mother collected. When a good friend in Paris gave her a Medieval ring, Hindman expanded Les Enluminures range to include 4th through 16th century finger rings, and they have become a big success with both men and women, Americans and Europeans, and both private collectors and museums eager to acquire the most beautiful examples.
“Among my favorites,” she says, “Is a spectacular large Renaissance diamond (FIG 9) that was exhibited in the “Nature of Diamonds” show at the Field Museum and elsewhere from 2009 to 2010. There is also an exceptional Byzantine Emerald and Pearl Ring of sophisticated fabrication in our show.”
“What distinguishes Les Enluminures from others offering important Medieval art works is the level of academic research we apply to each acquisition. We often discover information about a manuscript or illumination previously unknown, even to scholars. Over the twenty years we have been in business our academic focus has helped us to develop significant relationships with key curators, librarians, scholars and many of the most discerning private collectors in the world.”