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Charles Alexander Loeser

The collector and scholar Charles Alexander Loeser was born in New York in 1864 into a family of German origin.
After studying History of Art at Harvard University in Boston, in 1888 under the influence of his fellow student Bernard Berenson, Loeser decided to leave for Italy; he moved to Florence where he met and married the pianist Olga Lebert Kaufmann, and spent the rest of his life. 
In Florence Loeser cultivated his studies, centred on ancient drawings, and above all devoted himself to the collecting of works of art, like many other English and Americans resident in the city at that time.
At his death, Loeser’s remarkable collection, brought together from 1915 in Villa Torri Gattaia in the environs of San Miniato al Monte, comprised over two hundred and fifty ancient prints and drawings, numerous period furnishings, paintings, sculptures and works of applied art, for a total of almost one thousand precious objects. Most were works of Italian mediaeval and Renaissance art, but there were also contemporary works, such as the famous paintings of Cézanne, an artist whom Loeser was one of the first to appreciate. The collection was characterised by the austere sobriety with which these precious antiques and works of art furnished the various rooms of the villa.
Charles Loeser died in New York in 1928. In the will drawn up two years earlier he had ordained that on his death the entire collection of ancient prints and drawings should be donated to the Fogg Art Museum of the University of Harvard, that the President of the United States could choose eight of his Cézannes "to adorn the White House", and that the selection of over thirty works of art and period furnishings indicated by him should be bequeathed to the City Council of his adoptive city and displayed in Palazzo Vecchio as the "Loeser Bequest".
The Bequest still adorns various rooms in the Quartiere del Mezzanino of Palazzo Vecchio, laid out in line with aesthetic canons similar to those that characterised the interiors of the aristocratic mansions of Renaissance Florence, and which the collectors of Loeser’s time tended to reproduce in their private residences.

[Quartiere del Mezzanino] [Loeser Bequest] [Works]

città di firenze
Comune di Firenze
Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria
P.IVA 01307110484
Note Legali
Licenza Creative Commons

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