At the auction house VendueHuis der Notarissen in The Hague
Jaap of Delta 98 Den Haag, once saw an extremely charming and beautiful carved sculpture. Not on exhibition or on sale, no, it stood on a shelf in the back of the auction house office.
For several months.
Being investigated, as they said.
Finally, in the fall of 1996, it came up for auction. We bought it.
Shortly after our purchase we made a shop window display with seven white stands, all had a female sculpture on it, all ladies were covered with white, semi-transparent textile, except one, the centrepiece, was uncovered.
This Nele was made between 1894 and 1898 of ivory and fruitwood with an art nouveau appearance, on a wooden stand by Paul Hankar (1859-1901), by the Belgium sculptor:
Charles Samuel (1862-1938, Brussels)
A reservation was made on it within a day by an Amsterdam dealer.
The next day, Mr. Frits Scholten, curator at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam came by on his bike, stopped, looked in our window, came in, asked us about one of the covered statues, looked at that one, told us something of it's history and then he asked about Nele. Sorry, we said, it already has a reservation. Mr. Frits Scholten was clearly disappointed. Because he always had been so kind, had bought several items in the past, always shared knowledge (to a certain extent), I gave him a small present, a silvered bronze plaque I had in my medal collection, also made by Charles Samuel, just to cheer him up.
This medal depicts Charles Samuel 's deceased wife:
the French pianist Clotilde Kleeberg-Samuel (1866-1909), daughter of Martin Kleeberg (1838-1913) and Henriëtte Cahn (1839-1909) Mr. Scholten donated the plaque to the Rijksmuseum.
For the happy ending: the sculpture of Nele was offered for sale at Christie's Amsterdam in 2004 and purchased by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Nele revealed, now for everybody.
In 2013 I was able to purchase an other Nele;
a pewter plaque, with a diameter of 23 cm,
dated 1895 and signed Ch.Samuel.
It also has a stamp in the form a collection or money tin with the text:
la feuille d’etain enfants pauvres Bruxelles,
of the philanthropical organisation La Feuille d’Etain, which sold items to able them to buy shoes and clothes for the poor children of Brussels
For again a happy ending and for the memories:
we still have this plaque in our collection.
For documentation see:
Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum, jaargang 56, 2008 - nummer 1-2,
the ten page article, starting on page 192,
written by Frits Scholten:
" Charles Samuels Nele, model, fragment, cliché "
pictures: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and archive Delta 98 Den Haag