'Lost' Moritz Daniel Oppenheim painting up 36% on estimate

A painting by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, believed to have been lost for over 100 years, has realised $407,000 at Sotheby's New York.

The work, titled The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortata, led the Important Judaica auction on December 17 - achieving a 35.6% increase on a $200,000-300,000 valuation.

Moritz Daniel Oppenheim
Public anger over the Mortata incident led to the dissolution of Papal authority in 1870

The work is a representation of a real life case - the abduction of a young Jewish boy from his family by agents of the Catholic Church.

Mortata was secretly baptised by his family's Catholic maid, who then informed the authorities. Under the laws of the Papal States, it was forbidden for non-Christians to raise a Christian child and Mortata was subsequently rehomed - later becoming an Augustine priest.

Oppenheim was one of the few Jewish artists in the 19th century to express themes of identity and religion at a time of ingrained anti-Semitism.

A German silver spice tower was another highlight, achieving $227,000 against a high estimate of $100,000 - an increase of 127%.

Stadlein silver tower Nuremberg
The tower stands at just over 16 inches tall

Matheus Stadlein - a significant 18th century maker of Judaica based in the city of Nuremberg, Germany - created the elaborate piece in around 1730.

Portrait of a Young Rabbi (1897), a painting by Isidor Kaufman (1853-1921), hammered for $203,000 - up 35.3% on an estimate of $150,000.

His record figure at auction was set in 2006 by The Antiquarian, which sold for $772,000 at Sotheby's New York.

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