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Charles Loeser: A Notebook and diaries

Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies


Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: BER.17
Repository: Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies
Title: Loeser, Charles: A Notebook and diaries
Date(s): 1909-1923
Quantity: 1.0 boxes
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Calendars, notebook and address books of Charles Alexander Loeser.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Philippa Calnan, 2013.

Processing Information note:

Processed by Ilaria Della Monica, 2014.



Conditions Governing Use note:

Copying: Papers may be copied in accordance with the Biblioteca Berenson's usual procedures. Copyright: The Biblioteca Berenson does not hold copyright on all the materials in this collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the archivist. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the archivist are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.


The collector and scholar Charles Alexander Loeser was born in New York in 1864 into a family of German origin. After studying art history 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 there. In Florence Loeser cultivated his studies, centered on 15th-17th cent. 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 collection, brought together from 1915 in Villa Torri Gattaia in the environs of San Miniato al Monte, comprised over two hundred and fifty early prints and drawings, numerous period furnishings, paintings, sculptures, and works of applied art, for a total of almost one thousand objects. Most were works of Italian medieval and Renaissance art, but there were also contemporary works, such as the famous paintings by Cézanne, an artist whom Loeser was one of the first to appreciate. The collection was characterized by the austere sobriety with which these antiques and works of art furnished the various rooms of the villa. Charles Loeser died in New York in 1928. In his will drawn up two years earlier, he had ordained that on his death the entire collection of prints and drawings should be donated to the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, 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 characterized the interiors of the aristocratic mansions of Renaissance Florence, and which the collectors of Loeser's time tended to reproduce in their private residences.

Arrangement note

The collection is divided into two series: Diaries and Notes.

Scope and Content

The collection includes three diaries, for the years 1909-1913, 1922, and 1923. It also includes two address books and a notebook with annotations regarding Renaissance drawings, mainly by Michaelangelo.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Drawings (visual works)
Florentine paintings & drawings
Sculpture, Renaissance.
Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564
Sebastiano del Piombo