Weinberg, Morris (Moshe). HaSepher Tehilim Kethivath Yad… This Book, the Psalms of King David, Written by Hand.

Auction 95 | Thursday, November 11th, 2021 at 11:00am
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Rabbinic Letters, Ceremonial & Graphic Art

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Lot 57

Weinberg, Morris (Moshe). HaSepher Tehilim Kethivath Yad… This Book, the Psalms of King David, Written by Hand.

<<Large Hebrew Manuscript>> written in clear Aschkenazic rabbinic and square scripts (with Nikud), <<with numerous accompanying explanatory folkloric illustrations>> of various sizes. Many decorated borders and historiated initial letters. Black ink and colored highlights on thick paper, 46 manuscript pages (excluding blanks) featuring Psalms Chap. 1, through until Chap. 72. An additional 22 pages follow of printed stencils completing the text. This is then followed by a further 8 manuscript pages repeating the Tehillim, Chaps 1-17. <<<< Featured pages (both manuscript and printed:>>>> A portrait of the artist displaying his manuscript, several title-pages including one featuring the American flag, page of approbations, a poetic prayer (techinah) composed in a multi-directional acrostic form of the artist’s name: Moshe ben Ze’ev, a lengthy Foreword to the Reader, written in a rabbinic Hebrew hand in a shaped-form, an elaborately composed Yahrtzeit chart. Some wear, leaves slightly loose and occasionally stained, ink of a few pages oxidized. Protective wax-paper-guards. Sheet size: 12 x 17 inches. Bound in original half-calf, with central gilt-tooled title dedicating the volume to the artist’s daughter.

Chicago: 1910-13

Est: $8,000 - $12,000
This appears to be a draft of the artist’s completed manuscript. Or perhaps an attempt at a second version. The completed manuscript was sold at Kestenbaum Sale 58, lot 342. <<A magnificent manuscript of early 20th-century American Jewish Folk Art.>> The Hebrew calligraphic arts was significantly less developed in America in comparison to Europe. This Hebrew Book of Psalms created by Moshe Weinberg in Chicago is an outstanding and highly creative example. The artist was born in Kolne, a village near Lomza, Poland in 1854. Before he migrated to the United States he received a solid Jewish education. This is abundantly clear by his insightful use of numerous creative illustrated vignettes within the body of the calligraphic Hebrew text that expand upon the understanding of the verses. One of the most notable features of this manuscript of calligraphic artistry is Weinberg’s use of visual art throughout: At chapter headings, along margins, and embedded within individual words. Although all the illustrations are literal, they are clever, detailed and well executed. Remarkable is the divisional title-page that prominently feature the Stars-and-Stripes, a clear testimony to the patriotic energy that Weinberg had for the United States. Weinberg published an edited facsimile of this manuscript in a much reduced format in 1912. See Y. Goldman, Hebrew Printing In America no. 24 (who makes no mention of the whereabouts of the original manuscript). Also see Jewish Museum Catalogue, The Jewish Heritage in American Folk Art (1984) no. 90; and J. Ungerleider-Mayerson, Jewish Folk Art (1986) p. 34. - Both of which reproduce illustrations from the facsimile edition and not the original manuscript. <<Provenance:>> Acquired by the consignor from the artist’s family. This manuscript has remained out of public view for more than a century.