ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
The Patron Saints of Austria
woodcut, 1515, on laid paper, without watermark, a very fine, early impression of the extremely rare first state (of two) of this print, Meder Ib, before the addition of two other saints by Hans Springklee in 1517, printing very clearly and evenly
Block 174 x 272 mm.
Sheet 178 x 276 mm.
Unidentified, stamped initial G or C (?) in black ink verso (not in Lugt).
Kupferstich-Sammlung der Königlichen Museen, Berlin (Lugt 1606), with their de-accession stamp (Lugt 2398); their sale, R. Lepke, Berlin, 30 October - 9 November 1871, presumably lot 493 ('Die acht [sic!] österreichischen Heiligen. B. 116. Beschädigt und aufgezogen.')
Heinrich Anton Cornill-d’Orville (1790-1875), Frankfurt am Main (Lugt 529); his posthumous sale, H. Gutekunst & F.A.C. Prestel, Stuttgart, 14-15 May 1900, lot 190 (‚Herrlicher Abdruck des I. Zustandes mit nur 6 Figuren. Von der gröβter Seltenheit und in fast allen Sammlungen fehlend.‘; Rm. 1060).
Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934), London (Lugt 1375); presumably acquired through an agent at the above sale; his sale, H. G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 12-14 May 1910, lot 295 (‘Herrlicher Abdruck des I. Zustandes mit nur 6 Figuren, am unteren Rande unbedeutend ausgebessert. Sammlung Cornill-d’Orville. In diesem frühen Zustand ist das Blatt von allergröβter Seltenheit und fehlt in fast allen Sammlungen.‘; Rm. 2450; to Meder for Gerstenberg).
Otto Gerstenberg (1848-1935), Berlin; inscribed by his secretary Mr Montag with the deaccession number M103 in pencil verso (Lugt 1840c; see also Lugt 2785); acquired at the above sale.
With Arthur H. Harlow, New York; with his label attached to the mount.
Edwin A. Seasongood (1876-1953), New York, without his marks (see Lugt 826b & 907a); presumably acquired from the above; his sale, Parke Bernet, New York, 5-6 November 1951, lot 114 ('Superb impression. Extremely rare.'; to Blum).
Albert W. Blum (1882-1952), Zürich & Short Hills, New Jersey; with his stamp verso (Lugt 79b) and annotated mount; acquired at the above sale; then by descent.
Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, 22 June 1994, lot 59 (‘Ausgezeichneter Frühdruck mit 6 Heiligen und den Namen im Unterrand. Im Unterrand und an anderen Stellen restauriert. Vor grosser Seltenheit…‘; CHF 7,000).
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Bartsch 116; Meder, Hollstein 219; Schoch Mende Scherbaum 237
Special notice
Please note this lot is the property of a consumer. See H1 of the Conditions of Sale.
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Lot Essay

This broadside was first published in 1515 with a prayer in 46 verses printed in two columns in letterpress text below, composed by Johann Stabius (1450-1522), Emperor Maximilian's court historian, mathematician, astronomer and cartographer in Vienna. The prayer calls on the Saints - Quirinus, Maximilian, Florian, Severinus, Coloman and Leopold - to protect and bring peace and prospertity to Austrian and ends with the plea to make Emperor Maximilian 'victorious everywhere'. At the bottom of the sheet, Stabius added a dedication to his fellow humanist, the Viennese canon Andreas Stiborius (circa 1464-1515). The broadside is at once a declaration of friendship between two intellectuals and a piece of imperial Habsburg propaganda, which must be understood in the context of the ongoing conflict with the Ottoman Empire.

Stabius lived in Vienna since 1502, but had visited Nuremberg on several occasions and was familiar with the humanist and artistic circles there. He knew Albrecht Dürer and undoubtedly commissioned him personally to design the woodcut.

This woodcut of the Patron Saints of Austria is today one of the great rarities of Dürer's printed oeuvre and in the present first state, with six saints only, it is almost unobtainable. The British Museum holds the only known complete impression, with the full text and dedication. Only nine impressions with incomplete or without text, such as the present one, are found in public collections (Berlin, Coburg, Gotha, London, Melbourne x 2, Paris x 2, and Vienna), and to our knowledge none, with the exception of the present impression, have been on the market within the last thirty years.

In the second state, produced two years later in 1517, two saints, Saint Poppo and Saint Otto, were added, presumably by Dürer's pupil Hans Springinklee. For this purpose, the lower tablet with the saint's names was opened up on the right and a new part was joined onto Dürer's original woodblock. The joined block survived in the Derschau collection and is today in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin.

The present impression was de-accessioned as a duplicate from the Kupferstichkabinett in 1871 and since then has been in the possession of some of the most discerning print collectors of the late 19th and 20th century, including the director of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main, H. A. Cornill d'Orville, as well as Henry Studdy Theobald, Otto Gerstenberg and Albert Blum.

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