• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7375

    The Genius of the German Renaissance: Prints by Albrecht Dürer

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 10

    Albrecht Dürer

    The little Courier (B. 80; M., Holl. 79; S.M.S. 10)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Albrecht Dürer
    The little Courier (B. 80; M., Holl. 79; S.M.S. 10)
    engraving, circa 1496, a very good, clear Meder b impression, with part of a Bull's Head watermark (M. 62), trimmed just inside the platemark but retaining a fillet of blank paper outside the borderline, in extremely good condition
    S. 109 x 78 mm.


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Dürer was fascinated by horses and riders, and this is his first proper treatment of the subject in print. It was the first of many, including some of his most important works in both engraving and woodcut, with The Knight and the Lansquenet (lot 14) and Knight, Death and the Devil (lot 99) being the most noteworthy.

    Several drawings on the subject are recorded, mostly from his early years, and this engraving is quite closely related to a drawing in the City Museum of Gdansk (W. 9), inscribed by Dürer's hand: "Dz hat wofgang pewrer gemacht Im 1484 Jor" ('wofgang pewrer made this In the year 1484'). Apparently, in this drawing young Dürer had copied an engraving by Wolfgang Beurer, the monogramist WB.

    Dürer's little engraving, so full of speed and fun, was very popular and was copied at least five times by other engravers. It is part of a group of small secular prints created around 1496-97 (see the following two lots) which were popular with a public hungry for depictions of 'real life', and useful to other artists.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    F. Rumpf (L. 2161); possibly his anonymous sale, H.G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 7-11 May 1912, lot 336.
    Unidentified collector's initials G.J.S.F. in pencil verso (not in Lugt).
    F. Somary (his stamp verso, not in Lugt).