Monday, February 23, 2009

Valmadonna Trust Library at Sotheby's

From Wikipedia:
The Valmadonna Trust Library is a collection of 13,000 books and manuscripts printed and handwritten in Hebrew or in Hebrew script, primarily collected by Jack V. Lunzer, a British industrial diamond merchant, born in Antwerp in 1924. It is named after Valmadonna, a small town near Alessandria in north-west Italy with longstanding connections to the Lunzer family. Despite containing few books from the Americas, reflecting Lunzer's personal interests, the collection encompasses works from throughout the world, particularly Italy, "the cradle of Hebrew printing", and covers over a millennium; many items in the collection are rare or unique, and many date back to the earliest Hebrew printings. According to Arthur Kiron, curator of Judaica collections at the University of Pennsylvania, "I don't know any other collection quite like it in private hands. It even rivals some of the great institutional collections in the world."
It was being shown at Sotheby's recently, and honestly, it looks really incredible and fascinating and I wish I'd gone to see it... hopefully it will be bought and put on display. Mississippi Fred/S. wrote about it at On The Main Line, posting a number of pictures he took, commenting as only an expert can; SJ has a wonderful post on the experience from a younger perspective. Read them both.

The NYTimes has a decent piece on it as well, and Gotham Girl wrote about it very nicely, and also links to the really cool exhibit catalog.

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