Fürst zu Oettingen Wallerstein (Lugt 2715a) C. G. Boerner, Leipzig, sale 188, 1935, no. 94 Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, sale 13, 7-9 November 1951, from lot 812
Private Collection Southern Germany
A. von Bartsch, Le Peintre Graveur, 21 volumes, Vienna 1802 onwards. Fall of Man is described in vol. 7, p. 119 as part of the series La Passion de Jésus Chist. Suite de trente-sept pièces under no. 17: Adam et Eve mangeant du fruit de l'arbre de vie.
J. Meder, Dürer-Katalog. Ein Handbuch über Albrecht Dürers Stiche, Radierungen, Holzschnitte, deren Zustände, Ausgaben und Wasserzeichen, Vienna, 1932, no. 126/I (of V c).
R. Schoch, M. Mende, A. Scherbaum, Albrecht Dürer. Das druckgraphische Werk, 3 Volumes, Munich, London, New York 2001-2004. Volume II, published in 2002, deals with woodcuts and woodcut series. Prints arranged in chronological order. Meder's descriptions of the states are quoted verbatim. Otherwise, unlike Meder, the catalogue is fully illustrated and each print isgiven an article. Dürer’s The Fall of Man is described pp. 288-89 under no. 187.
The present impression of Dürer's The Fall of Man from The Small Woodcut Passion is an extremely rare proof before the Latin text on the verso. It is printed on paper with the bull's head watermark as particularly mentioned by Meder for the early proofs. (Joseph Meder
published his catalogue raisoné of Dürer's printed oeuvre in 1932 in Vienna under the title Dürer-Katalog. Ein Handbuch über Albrecht Dürers Stiche, Radierungen, Holzschnitte, deren Zustände, Ausgaben und Wasserzeichen (Dürer catalogue. A manual on Albrecht Dürer's engravings, etchings, woodcuts, their states, editions and watermarks)).
The present impression is printed homogeneously in deep black - without any weakness or omissions - so that the sharpness of the line is as rarely seen. In addition, the sheet is in perfect condition.
The Small Woodcut Passion is Dürer’s most extensive print series. It comprises a total of 37 sheets, created in the years 1509-10. In 1511, it was first published as a book under the title Passio Christi ab Alberto Durer Nurnbergensi effigiataa cum varij generis carminibus
Fratris Benedicti Chelidonij Musophili, i.e. with the Latin verses of Benedictus Chelidonius on the reverse. Prior to that, as soon as the printing blocks were cut, so-called proofs were printed in only a few copies – and they had not had text printed on the back yet. With these proofs 'before the text', the blocks were still very fresh, so they did not show any signs of wear and tear that would appear over time.
In Dürer’s time, printing was usually done on laid paper. The proofs before the text were usually printed on paper with the watermark Bull’s Head with JZ. The book edition of 1511 was printed on paper with the watermark High Crown. However, not all copies show a
watermark, because Dürer always printed four printing blocks on one sheet of paper. The watermark is therefore often cropped or not visible at all.
After the Latin text edition of 1511, up to about 1550, the printing blocks, which had meanwhile been more or less severely damaged, continued to be printed on different types of paper, but without text on the reverse side - so-called prints after the text.
Finally, the publisher Daniele Bissuccio acquired the original printing blocks and in 1612 organised a new edition with Italian verses by Mauritio Mori in Venice. After that, further prints from the printing blocks, which in the meantime had been badly damaged by worms,
appeared on paper with again typical watermarks.
In his catalogue raisonné Joseph Meder listed all of Dürer’s prints beginning with No. 1 (Adam and Eve) and ending with 294 (Coat of Arms of Johann Tscherte), and he also included all ofDürer’s book illustrations.
Meder listed and illustrated in this reference book all the watermarks which he found in the different impressions of Dürer’s prints. The note above describing the present work as: 'wm. 70' - means the print shows the watermark listed under no. 70 in Meder’s book.
In Meder’s book the entry for the woodcut The Fall of Man has the number 126. Meder has described the different editions and printing states of this sheet in detail as follows:
Before the text:
full borders. Watermark "Bull's Head with JZ" (M. 72)
Latin book edition of 1511:
signature Aii; often smudged or tanned; a small gap in the right border at the tree. Watermark: "High Crown" (M. 20)
(a) as above. Watermark: "Medium size Imperial Orb" (M.20". Perhaps before 1550. (b) good; brownish. Watermark: "Narrow High Crown with P" (M. 28). (c) uneven, grey; three small gaps each on bottom and on top. Watermark: "Bear" (M. 86)
Italian edition of 1612:
signature B; Italian text on verso; grey; gaps as above. Watermark "Anchor (M. 172)
Later editions without text:
(a) badly printed; the upper right corner broken; two good size gaps in the upper border. No watermark. (b) with a filled in worm hole below the branch, carrying the apple. No watermark. (c) last impression; seven worm holes, thick paper. No watermark.
For the above categories, usually the following abbreviations apply:
Before the text = I Latin book edition of 1511 = II Without text = III Italian edition of 1612 = IV Later editions without text = V
And with their respective subheadings a, b, c to refine the differentiation of the category further.
So in the present work when it is described as Meder 126/I (of Vc) we have here a first stateaccording to Meder’s categories. The ‘of V C’ part describes the full extent of the states to which this print runs according to Meder.