ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
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ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)

Saint Eustace

Details
ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
Saint Eustace
engraving, circa 1501, on laid paper, watermark High Crown (Meder 20), a very fine Meder b impression, printing with great clarity and contrasts, with narrow to thread margins
Plate 356 x 260 mm.
Sheet 358 x 262 mm.
Provenance
Edward Wenman Martin (died circa 1852), London (Lugt 1798).
Julian Marshall (1836-1903), London (Lugt 1494); his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 30 June 1864 (and following days), lot 480 (‘Saint Eustace kneeling before a Stag (57) with margins, extremely rare, from the Collection of E. W. Martin’) (£ 46,-; to Drugulin; this impression cited in Lugt).
Wilhelm Eduard Drugulin (1825-1879), Leipzig; possibly his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 11 June 1866 (and following days), lot 295 (‘Saint Eustachius kneeling before a Stag (57) early impression, with the paper mark of the crown, with margin, extremely rare’).
Adalbert Freiherr von Lanna (1836-1909), Prague (Lugt 2773); possibly acquired at the above sale; his sale H. G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 11 May 1909 (and following days), lot 1432 (‘Der heil. Hubertus. B. 57. Hauptblatt in prachtvollem frühem Abdruck auf Papier mit der hohen Krone, mit Rändchen. Sammlung Marshall. Von dieser Schönheit äusserst selten.‘)  (1,920 M.; to Artaria).
With Artaria & Co., Vienna (see Lugt 90; without their mark); acquired at the above sale.
Dr Josef Winter, Edler von Wigmar (1857-1916), Vienna; acquired from the above on 5 February 1910 (Fl. 3,300); by descent in the family.
Walter Fröhlich von Feldau (1897-1960), Vienna & New York; by descent from the above.
Hanns Schaeffer (1886-1967) and Kate Born Schaeffer (1898-2000), Berlin & New York; acquired from the above in May 1955; then by descent to the present owners.

Literature
Bartsch 57; Meder, Hollstein 60; Schoch Mende Scherbaum 32
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Tim Schmelcher
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Lot Essay

The largest of all Dürer's engravings, Saint Eustace has always been regarded as one of his finest. Dürer himself considered this early work something of a show-piece, as he took it with him on his journey to the Netherlands in 1521. In his travel diary he mentions six occasions of him selling or presenting it to potential patrons.
The subject matter was well chosen, as Saint Eustace, also referred to as Saint Hubert at times, was the patron saint of huntsmen and enormously popular in Northern Europe at this time. According to the legend a Roman soldier called Placidas saw a vision of the crucified Christ appear between the antlers of a stag he was hunting. Upon hearing God's voice spoken by the animal, 'O Placidas, why pursuest thou me?', he fell on his knees, was converted and baptized with the name Eustace.
In Dürer's engraving the saint is shown kneeling on the banks of a stream, transfixed by his vision, while his horse and hounds wait patiently for their master. The animals are depicted with delightful naturalism, as is the woodland vegetation, the gnarled and splintered tree trunk, and the view in the distance of a hill surmounted by a castle, with a flock of birds spiralling around its castellated turrets. This display of technical virtuosity may have been Dürer's counter to the hotly contested view prevalent in the 16th century that sculpture was superior to painting due to its capacity to show the figure three-dimensionally. Dürer's depiction of the natural world in Saint Eustace in such exquisite detail - and in the case of the dogs from different sides at once - was a provocative claim for the parity of the two-dimensional arts. One of the most admired and best loved elements in Dürer's whole graphic oeuvre, the greyhounds in the foreground prompted Vasari's effusive description of the engraving as 'amazing, and particularly for the beauty of some dogs in various attitudes, which could not be more perfect'.
Fine, early impressions of Saint Eustace such as the present one from the collections Marshall and von Lanna have always ranked amongst the most highly-priced possessions of a print collector.

This lot is sold with an Art Loss Register certificate.

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