Sunday, 25 February 2018

Wenceslaus Hollar’s etching, “Wide cup with ornamental stem”, 1646


Wenceslaus Hollar (aka Wenzel Hollar; Václav Hollar) (1607–1677)

“Wide cup with ornamental stem”, 1646, from a suite of ten plates of ornamental designs after Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8–1543) (New Hollstein [Hollar] 824–33) in the collection of the Earl of Arundel, Antwerp.

Note: the V&A advises: “The original Holbein drawings on which Hollar based his etchings, from the Arundel Collection, are now lost” (http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O625128/a-wide-cup-on-ball-etching-holbein-hans-ii/)

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed well within the image borderline on the left and lower edges and re-margined with a support sheet.
Size: (re-margined support sheet) 33.7 x 28.1 cm; (unevenly trimmed sheet) 16.4 x 12.4 cm
Inscribed on plate at lower left: “HHolbein delin: WHollar fecit, 1646 / ex Collectione Arundeliana,”

Pennington 1982 2629 (Richard Pennington 1982, “A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar”, Cambridge, p. 389); New Hollstein (German) 828 (Hollar)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Wide cup with ornamental stem, featuring two grotesque heads with goat's horns, and lid with female figure holding a blank shield; after Hans Holbein. 1646 Etching”
The British Museum also holds another very similar etching of a cup by Hollar with variations to the ornamentation such as the addition of ball feet (among other features): http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3580512&partId=1&searchText=hollar+1646&page=1

Condition: excellent impression in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling), but trimmed unevenly with significant losses on the left and lower edge and re-margined on an archival support sheet.

I am selling this trimmed jewel of an etching by one of the most famous of all 17th century  etchers for AU$196 (currently US$153.81/EUR125.08/GBP110.09 at the time of this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in purchasing this technically superb print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


Although this etching is exceptionally beautiful and shows Hollar’s virtuosity with the etching needle, especially in his subtle tonal gradations made with only horizontal strokes, one needs to see what I believe is Hollar’s true tour de force in rendering ornamental vessels: “The Large Chalice” (aka “Design for a Large Chalice”) (https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/57661/design-large-chalice).

When I look at this amazing print, I have to remind myself that the delicate line-work is crafted by etching rather than by engraving. The jolt of reminding myself helps me to appreciate how Hollar had such a profound impact on printmaking in the 17th century. This is especially true regarding his affect on English printmakers, as in England (where Hollar ultimately lived) the art of etching was a virtually unexplored discipline that he was able to make his own. For an insightful account of Hollar's impact, see Richard T Godfrey's (1994) “Wenceslaus Hollar: A Bohemian Art in England”, Yale University Press, p. 10).







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