Lot 29: ALBRECHT DÜRER Melencolia I.

Swann Auction Galleries

November 3, 2016, 10:30 AM EST
New York, NY, US
6 saved

More About this Item


Description: ALBRECHT DÜRER Melencolia I. Engraving, 1514. 243x188 mm; 9 1/2x7 3/8 inches. A superb, dark, evenly and well-inked Meder II b-c impression, before the scratch on the sphere lower left and with the number "9" corrected in the third row of the number square upper right, with one very delicate horizontal scratch on the upper portion of the left thigh, with strong contrasts and little to no sign of wear. Trimmed on the plate mark with narrow margins outside the border line. Dürer''s Melencolia I, St. Jerome in his Study and Knight, Death and the Devil, all from 1514 and related in size, style and technical complexity, have been considered his master engravings (or "meisterstiche") since their creation nearly 500 years ago. Replete with symbols (some understood and some unknown) and brimming with psychological content, Melencolia I is perhaps the most heavily studied and written about image in the history of art next to Leonardo da Vinci''s Mona Lisa. Melencolia I has been described as representing the contemplative life, and more specifically the melancholic pitfalls of an overly intellectual, creative temperament, with the large seated figure in the engraving possibly an allegory of the artist himself, symbolizing artistic melancholy. Certainly an event that shaped Dürer''s life and his outlook during this period was the illness and ultimate death of his mother on May 16, 1514. Whatever part this played in his creation of Melencolia I, it is clear from his diary entries and a moving charcoal portrait of his mother from 1514 (now in the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Berlin), in which he detailed her illness, that her death weighed heavily on his mind leading up to and during the creation of this engraving. While modern scholars often group Dürer''s three master engravings from 1514 together, suggesting they were conceived as a set by the artist and comercially offered as such, this was evidently not the artist''s intent (though the Roman numeral "I" in the title of the current work also suggests Dürer had a series in mind). He often sold impressions of Melencolia I and St. Jerome in his Study together, though this is likely due to their highly recognized importance even during his life and their contemporaneous creation. Bartsch 74; Meder 75.
Request more information
Accepted forms of payment: Money Order / Cashiers Check, Personal Check, Wire Transfer
Shipping: Upon request, Swann will facilitate the shipping of purchases to out-of-town buyers at an additional charge for packing, shipping and insurance, but will not be responsible for any loss, damage or delay resulting from the packing, handling and shipping thereof. Unless specific instructions are received, Swann is the sole judge of the method to be used for shipment. Packing and shipping costs will be noted on the invoice mailed to successful bidders after the sale, and are based on the actual costs involved. Be advised that a full commercial invoice must accompany any purchase shipped outside the US.
Buyer's Premium
$0 - 100,000: 30.0%
$100,001 - 1,000,000: 25.0%
$1,000,001+: 17.0%
From: To: Increment:
$0 $149 $10
$150 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $5,999 $200
$6,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,000
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 $199,999 $10,000
$200,000 $499,999 $20,000
$500,000+ $50,000
Payment Information: Payment must be made by cash, check, certified check or money order. Purchases paid using personal checks may be held until payment has cleared. Swann does not accept credit cards or PayPal for purchases. Non-US purchasers must pay using a US-dollar denominated check drawn on a US bank, or by international money order or bank transfer.
Shipping Information: Upon request, Swann will facilitate the shipping of purchases to out-of-town buyers at an additional charge for packing, shipping and insurance, but will not be responsible for any loss, damage or delay resulting from the packing, handling and shipping thereof. Unless specific instructions are received, Swann is the sole judge of the method to be used for shipment. Packing and shipping costs will be noted on the invoice mailed to successful bidders after the sale, and are based on the actual costs involved. Be advised that a full commercial invoice must accompany any purchase shipped outside the US.
Buyer's Premium: Buyer's Premium is 25% of the hammer price up to and including $100,000; 20% of the portion of the hammer price above $100,000 up to and including $1,000,000; and 12% of the portion of the hammer price above $1,000,000.
Taxes on your purchase: SALES TAX. All items purchased are subject to payment of the New York City and State sales tax of 8.875% on the total purchase price (final bid plus the Buyer's Premium as defined in paragraph 7 of the Conditions of Sale) unless the purchaser presents proof of exemption therefrom. An exempt purchaser must provide a properly completed New York State Resale Certificate (Form ST-120) evidencing possession of a valid New York State Resale or, for non-New York State businesses, the equivalent resale authorization from another locale. Purchases will not be released unless all sales tax requirements are satisfied. Purchases shipped outside of New York State are not subject to sales tax.
Condition Statement: Available upon request.
View full terms and conditions