Leo Baeck to auction signed Chagall books

London’s Leo Baeck College is to sell a collection of 49 books signed and illustrated by Marc Chagall.

The collection, believed to be worth more than £250,000, was donated to the college 15 years ago by Alfred and Irmgard Neuman, who were neighbours of the artist in St Paul de Vence, South of France. They were impressed by its role at the time as the only Progressive rabbinic seminary in Europe.

Explained Leo Baeck vice-principal Rabbi Michael Shire: “The collection was exhibited once shortly after arrival and was then stored in the room for rare books in the college library largely unseen by those who would appreciate it.”

Since the books were donated as an asset and not used for Leo Baeck studies, the governors had decided “that the collection will be offered to a wider audience by selling it at auction for the benefit of the college.”

The books will be sold at Bloomsbury Auction House on January 29.

Last updated: 3:04pm, December 30 2008