Two mid-thirteenth-century panels said to have come from the former Dominican church of St Bartholomew in Strasbourg will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s in Paris on 20 April. The panels show the Kiss of Judas and the Crucifixion. Both panels have estimates of EUR 50,000–70,000 ($67,000–93,000). [Figs 1 and 2]
The appearance of the panels is likely to stir considerable interest, as they are reputedly the only examples of glass from this church still in private hands, having entered the local workshop of glazier Albert Sigel in 1850 for restoration before being acquired by the grandmother of the current owner in 1909.
The attribution of the windows to the Dominican church was made in 2004 by Dr Françoise Gatouillat of the Centre André Chastel in Paris, who argued that the panels were originally part of a Tree of Jesse scheme installed before 1260. She also identified other panels as belonging to the same scheme in the St Lawrence Chapel in Strasbourg Cathedral, the Burrell Collection (Glasgow), the Württembergisches Landesmuseum (Stuttgart), and the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame (Strasbourg). A sceptical view of this attribution can be found in Victor Beyer, Les Vitraux de l’ancienne église des Dominicains de Strasbourg, published in 2007, who, unlike Gatouillat, thought that only the St Lawrence Chapel glass could be said definitely to have come from the Dominican church.
The Dominican church at Strasbourg was founded in 1224. Before it was given over to Protestant worship in 1531, at least three glazing schemes are known to have been installed, the first dating to 1254–60, the second to between 1307 and 1347, and the third to the beginning of the fifteenth century. After the Reformation, the church was incorporated into the city university and used as a library. In 1833, a considerable amount of ancient glass from the church was bought by the city authorities and put into safe storage – a prescient decision, as the church was subsequently shelled in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian war and demolished.
Victor Beyer, Les Vitraux de l’ancienne église des Dominicains de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, 2007
James Bugslag, review of Beyer in Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, xxxiii (2009), pp. 152 –57
Francoise Gatouillat, ‘La verrière typologique de la première église des Dominicains de Strasbourg’, in Hartmut Scholz et al. (eds), Glas. Malerei. Forschung. Internationale Studien zu ehren von Rudiger Becksmann, Berlin, 2004, pp. 101–107
Charlotte A. Stanford, ‘Architectural Rivalry as Civic Mirror: The Dominican Church and the Cathedral in Fourteenth-Century Strasbourg’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, lxiv/2 (June 2005), pp. 186–203