Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Daniel Hopfer’s etching, “Claus Stürtz den Becher”


Daniel Hopfer (1471–1536)
“Kunz von der Rosen” (Bartsch title)/“Claus Stürtz den Becher” (BM title), c1515, possibly after Hans Burgkmair the Elder (1473–1531), published by David Funck (fl. 1682–1709) in the late 17th century (Soldat allemande assis) F27 (see “The Illustrated Bartsch”, Vol. 17, p. 163).
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed at image borderline with a partial watermark (coat of arms and three crescent moons?)
Size: (sheet) 29.3 x 21.6 cm
Signed with monogram at lower left. The Funck number 27 added there.
Lettered at upper centre: “Claus Stürtz den Becher” and in lower margin: “Ich Stürtz den Becher und die Kandel/ und hab damit ein guten Handel./ Auch finde ich meiner Brüder viel/ Die eben das Liben was ich will.” [Babylon 10 translation of this text from German to English: “I drop the cup and Kandel/ and have a good trading./ I also find my brother much/ The Liben what I want.”]
Hollstein 97.III; Bartsch 17(8).87(493)
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Portrait of Conrad von der Rosen, jester at the court of Maximilian I; half-length, seated, turned slightly to left, the head in three-quarter profile; impression from the Funck series. c.1515” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1520794&partId=1&searchText=Hopfer+&page=40)  
(Note: the Funck number on this print signifies that it was published in the seventeenth century by David Funck (fl. 1682–1709) at Nuremberg)
Condition: marvellous crisp and richly inked impression of exceptional rarity trimmed at the image borderline. The sheet is in splendidly clean condition, but with a faint trace of tone (visible on the left side verso) and two minor spots of restoration (visible verso). This print is in a remarkable condition for its age.

I am selling this museum-quality etching by the first artist to use etching for an artist’s print, for the total cost of AU$2000 (currently US$1506.60/EUR1367/GBP1146.60 at the time of posting this) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this highly significant old-master print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This is a print of exceptional historical importance and rarity. It is so important, in fact, that it should be in a museum as a key exhibit!
There are two reasons for its importance. The first reason is in regard to Daniel Hopfer’s historical significance as an artist: he was the first artist to use the medium of etching to create images designed to be “stand alone” artworks (as opposed to using etching to decorate armour). Or, as the British Museum explains: “He [Daniel Hopfer] was the earliest artist to adapt the practice of etching on iron to printmaking and to make a significant profession out of it” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=120691). The second reason is that this print is one of his best known/most reproduced images.
From a personal standpoint, this is a visually arresting image. Certainly, my attention is caught by the cactus-like spikes on the figure’s costume—the portrayed figure is Maximilian I’s court jester and advisor, Conrad von der Rosen—and his “hands on hips” pose, but there is more to this image than spikes and body language which give the figure a confronting prickly appearance. What I find visually riveting is the pictorial cropping of the figure by the image’s borderline. For me the cropping of the figure’s right elbow and his legs by the borderline, and the almost tangential contact of his left elbow with the borderline, subliminally suggests that he is in my private personal space (i.e. “in my face”). This feeling of unease is heightened by the puff-ball clouds floating on either side of the figure’s head that I read like an miniature storm clouds arising from the figure’s disquieting demeanour. 






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