The above portrait is being auctioned by Kestenbaum & Company
LOT: 23 (CHASAM SOFER) Josef Edward August von Gillern. Half-length portrait of The Chasam Sofer (R. Moshe Schreiber / Sofer). Oil on canvas. Signed by the artist lower right. 21 x 26 inches (53.3 x 66 cm). Later elaborate gilt frame. Portrait of the Chasam Sofer (R. Moshe Sofer), painted in his lifetime, by Josef Edward August von Gillern (lot 23: Auction estimate: $20,000-30,000).
c. 1835: Est: $20,000 - $30,000
A European family, descendants of the Chasam Sofer.
Moshe Schreiber (1762–1839) known to his community and to Jewish posterity by his celebrated work “Chasam Sofer,” was one of the leading Orthodox rabbis of European Jewry in the first half of the nineteenth century. As Rav of the city of Pressburg he maintained a strong Orthodox Jewish perspective through communal life, first-class education and uncompromising opposition to Reform and radical change.
The Chasam Sofer established a yeshiva in Pressburg (today Bratislava, Slovakia) which became influential throughout Europe, producing hundreds of future rabbinic leaders. The Chasam Sofer died in Pressburg, his grave there is a place of pilgrimage for tens of thousands.
The artist Josef Edward August von Gillern (1794-1845) was a well-known German painter and portraitist of the Biedermeier period, who was particularly active in Silesia, a heavily Jewish region of Central Europe.
Gillern interrupted his youthful studies to fight against Napoleon before entering the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. In 1822 he moved to Poznan (western Poland) where he opened an art school and also became a popular portraitist of local citizenry and the nobility. “[Gillern] had a sensitive eye and a particular technique to represent faces without palliation or idealization, well reproducing character and psyche.” (Thieme-Becker).
Serel, was the second wife of the Chasam Sofer, she was the daughter of Reb Akiva Eiger.
She was the mother of the Chasam Sofer's eleven children.