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Sampler (Austria), early 18th century

This is a Sampler. It is dated early 18th century and we acquired it in 2005. Its medium is silk embroidery on linen foundation and its technique is embroidered on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles Department department.

This early 18th-century Austrian sampler, a grid of colorful geometric repeat patterns, was formerly part of the collection of Emma-Henriette Schiff von Suvero née Reitzes. Schiff von Suvero was a member of a very important and influential Jewish family of prominent bankers and owners of the Palais Reitzes in the center of Vienna. She wished to stay in Vienna after the Nazi invasion in 1938 and her art collection was officially inventoried by the Reich in July of that year. Although she was relocated from the Palais, nothing appeared to be immediately confiscated. Her nephew and heir, Erwin Reitzes, however, was considered to be a “half breed of the first class” according to the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935. He was arrested and later released, and fled to the United States in 1938. When Schiff von Suvero died of natural causes in January of 1939, Reitzes sought but was denied export licenses for his aunt’s collection. Instead, he was forced to negotiate the “sale” of the collection to the Kunstgewerbemuseum (now the MAK, the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts). Over 140 pieces of textile art entered the museum from her collection.
In 1953, Reitzes committed suicide along with his wife. In the 1990s, new restitution laws were passed by the Austrian government and the collection was deaccessioned from the MAK and returned to his descendants in 2003.
This sampler was never exhibited in Vienna, but it was clearly well cared for and is in excellent condition. The piece would be a great addition to Cooper-Hewitt’s superb international sampler collection, which includes a small number of samplers in this style (1981-28-302, 1981-28-295, 1981-28-183, and 1941-69-94), as well as one re-examination of the style from the Kunstgewerbeschule (ca. 1900), but none so carefully designed and finely executed.

It is credited Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 17.5 x 25 cm (6 7/8 x 9 13/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Sampler (Austria), early 18th century; silk embroidery on linen foundation; H x W: 17.5 x 25 cm (6 7/8 x 9 13/16 in.); Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2005-1-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18701133/ |title=Sampler (Austria), early 18th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=3 June 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>