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Object Name: Sampler
Date: 1840
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Medium: Cotton
Dimensions: Overall: 12 1/4 x 19 3/4 in. ( 31.1 x 50.2 cm )
Place made: Europe, Germany
Description: Horizontal rectangular cotton sampler with red and white cotton floss stitching; horizontal rows of alphabets and numbers centered in upper two-thirds, inscription, monograms and designs in bottom third; white work, open work, satin and outline stitches.
Credit Line: Purchased from Elie Nadelman
Object Number: 1937.342
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Marks: Embroidered at bottom center in red floss: "Christiane Bauer. / 1840"; embroidered at bottom left corner, red and white floss: "G. Bauer / E. Bauer / M. B."; embroidered at bottom right corner, red and white floss: "A. B. / F. B. / F. Richter / H. B."; "$35" written in graphite on back upper right

Gallery Label:

This object was once part of the folk art collection of Elie Nadelman (1882-1946), the avant-garde sculptor. From 1924 to 1934, Nadelman's collection was displayed in his Museum of Folk Arts, located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The Historical Society purchased Nadelman's entire collection in 1937.

Samplers have a long history, developing over time from personal reference tools into an important component of women’s formal education. By the seventeenth century, the vocabulary of sampler motifs had become international, due in part to the popularity of pattern books that circulated throughout Europe and made their way to America. Viola Nadelman assembled an international sampling of schoolgirl needlework for the Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts including examples made in the United States, France, Germany, England, and Spain.

This sampler is typical of needlework created at girls’ schools in Saxony, Germany. In addition to multiple alphabets and the initials of family members, Christiane Bauer stitched four royal crowns, which denoted different levels of German aristocratic rank.


The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman, Riverdale, NY


Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman," Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, NM, September 6–November 29, 2015; New-York Historical Society, May 20–August 21, 2016.