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Auction Preempt: Israel and Metropolitan Museums Jointly Purchase Michael Steinhardt’s “Mishneh Torah”

Sotheby's vice charman David Redden at today's sale of Steinhardt Judaica colleciton (minus its star lot)

Sotheby’s vice charman David Redden at today’s sale of Steinhardt Judaica collection (minus its star lot)

My informed guess proved correct. This just in from the Israel Museum and Metropolitan Museum:

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today the joint acquisition of one of the finest illuminated Hebrew manuscripts ever created, a rare handwritten copy of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides, one of the most important rabbinical figures of the Middle Ages. The manuscript was previously in the collection of Judy and Michael Steinhardt, New York, and will be shared by the two museums on a rotating basis.

The Mishneh Torah is being acquired by the Israel Museum with support from: an anonymous donor; René and Susanne Braginsky, Zurich; Renee and Lester Crown, Chicago; Lynn Schusterman, Tulsa; and Judy and Michael Steinhardt, New York. Funding for the acquisition at the Metropolitan Museum will be announced at a later date….

Michael Steinhardt added, “We could not be happier that this rare and remarkable manuscript will be in the care of the Israel Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in perpetuity….Judy and I are also delighted for our role within the group of donors who are making this key acquisition possible.”

It is a happy development that this highly important manuscript (which is discussed in greater detail in this CultureGrrl Video) will be in the public domain. What’s not so happy is how it got there.

I’ll have more to say on that a bit later.

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