A collection of rare porcelain belonging to a Viennese Holocaust survivor is scheduled to be sold at Bonhams, a privately owned British auction house and one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneer of fine art and antiques, on June 15.
The collection belonged to Eve Newgas, née Blumka, whose family was among the most prestigious art and antique dealers in Vienna. In 1936 and 1937 the family sent young Eve to England to spend the school summer vacation—and learn English—with relatives. In March 1938, Austria joined the German Reich, and the Blumkas shipped their rich possessions to England. Then, according to Eve, the family sat down to a civilized last lunch in their empty luxury apartment, left the table with the dirty dishes on it and hurried to board a boat to England, using German passports and British visas.
They arrived on September 16, 1938, and their belongings came a few months later, including those dirty lunch plates.
Eve Blumka’s family opened a shop in Mayfair, an exclusive area of West London, by the east edge of Hyde Park, and their cousins went to New York. After her parents retired, Eve closed the business but she continued to add to the family’s collection, which today features pieces from the late 19th century up to the 1990s.
Bonhams’ Director of Ceramics, Sebastian Kuhn, said, “Eve Newgas had a wonderful eye and her collection reflects not only her great appreciation of beauty but also a deep scholarly understanding of the history of porcelain.”