The 'Le Saunier' Hours
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Richly illuminated, this elegant manuscript is adorned with two remarkable donor portraits that witness to the early interest of the elites of Lyons in the genre of portraiture. The patrons, likely named Jean and Catherine, most probably come from the Le Saunier family whose arms are reproduced three times in the manuscript. Two major painters active in the last quarter of the fifteenth century participated in the illumination of these Horae, now identified as The “Le Saunier” Hours after its patrons. The resurfacing of this manuscript, published but in a private collection for nearly three decades, prompts a re-examination of the styles of its collaborating artists and their importance for development of Lyonnais painting at the dawn of the Renaissance.
In her important study, E. Burin, Manuscript Illumination in Lyons 1473–1530 (2002) retraces the development of a school of painting in Lyons, parallel to the local flourishing printing press with the first book printed in the city in 1473. The author maps out manuscript production in Lyons according to different workshops, sometimes collaborating in a same manuscript, as is the case here. This manuscript was known to Burin (see her cat. 17) and was referred to as “H.P. Kraus, catalogue no. 24.” However, at the time of her study Burin did not have access to the codex, which has been inaccessible in a private collection for nearly three decades. Burin signals the modernity of one of the artists, The Lambert Master (the “new, more modern approach to his compositions”). F. Avril characterizes his successor, the Master of the Alarmes de Mars, as an “excellent artist” known for his bold coloring and harmonious compositions. Hence the resurfacing of these Horae, now identified as The “Le Saunier” Hours after its patrons, prompts a re-examination of the styles of its collaborating artists and their importance for development of Lyonnais painting at the dawn of the Renaissance.
Les Enluminures was founded in Paris in 1991 by Dr. Sandra Hindman in association with the Chicago-based business, and it has opened a new gallery in New York in May 2012. Specializing in manuscripts and miniatures from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the gallery also handles rings and jewelry from the same periods. It organizes four or five exhibitions a year, some in collaboration with other dealers and some traveling to other locations, and these are often accompanied by catalogues.
Les Enluminures exhibits at many prestigious art and antique shows, including The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, the Winter Antiques Show in New York, Masterpiece and Frieze Masters in London, and Fine Arts Paris. International clients of the gallery include the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, as well as many other institutional and private clients worldwide.
SANDRA HINDMAN is a leading expert on Medieval and Renaissance manuscript illumination. Professor Emerita of Art History at Northwestern University and Owner of Les Enluminures, Paris, Chicago and New York, Professor Hindman is author, coauthor, or editor of more than ten books, as well as numerous articles on the history and reception of illuminated manuscripts and on medieval rings. Sandra Hindman is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, the National Antique and Art Dealers Association of America, the Syndicat National de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne, and the Syndicat National des Antiquaires.