Sketch bought at Estate Sale for $30 could be Dürer drawing worth $50 million | Smart Messages – 71Bait

attributed to Albrecht Dürer, The Virgin and Child with a Flower on a Grassy Bencharound 1503
Courtesy of Agnews Gallery

In 2016, at a Massachusetts real estate sale, an alert buyer bought a drawing on a whim. The square of unframed, faded linen featured an elegant sketch of a mother and child — and a modest price tag of $30, reports Martin Bailey for the art newspaper.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, bought the artwork and stashed it in his home. Although the sketch bore one of the art world’s most recognizable monograms – Albrecht Dürer’s “AD”, neither buyers nor sellers believed it was a genuine work by the German Renaissance artist. As the unnamed man tells Taylor Dafoe Artnet News, he simply thought it was “a beautifully rendered piece of ancient art”.

Now, after careful study, several scholars say the delicate ink sketch is an authentic Dürer drawing that could be worth over $50 million. It is also an art historical rarity: Per the art newspaperthe sketch – probably a preparatory work for a painting from around 1506 – is the artist’s first “completely unknown” drawing to reappear since the 1970s.

Retitled The Virgin and Child with a Flower on a Grassy Bench (1503) the work can be seen at Agnews Gallery in London until December 12th. The gallery plans to eventually sell the sketch, but hasn’t set a firm price yet. Given its estimated value, the drawing is likely to be purchased by an institution or private collector with deep pockets.

Clifford Schorer, an Agnews shareholder and art collector, first heard rumors about the possible Dürer work during a trip to Boston in 2019, reported Simon Worrall for London Times last year.

The sketch was sold in 2016 by the daughters of the late architect Jean-Paul Carlhian. The work appears to have been passed down through the family whose ancestors were art collectors in 19th-century France. The Carlhians had long assumed the sketch was a modern reproduction – but Schorer had a different idea.

“It was an incredible moment when I saw Dürer,” he tells the art newspaper. “It was either the biggest fake I’ve ever seen – or a masterpiece.”

Albrecht Dürer, The Virgin among Many Animals, c. 1506

Albrecht Dürer, The Virgin amidst a multitude of animalsaround 1506

Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Experts consulted by Schorer identified two telltale features that pointed to the work’s authenticity. First, the artist inscribed his monogram in the same ink as in the drawing. (According to a gallery statement, Dürer signed his initials in this way on at least 20 other works completed between 1501 and 1514, and claimed authorship in an early version of the copyright.) Paper conservator Jane McAusland also noted that the work on paper with a trident and ring watermark – the same motif seen on more than 200 sheets used by the artist.

Leading Dürer scholars Christof Metzger, chief curator of the Albertina in Vienna, and Giulia Bartrum, former curator of the British Museum, have examined the work and found it authentic, they say art newspaper. The pair assume that Dürer made the sketch in preparation for it The Virgin amidst a multitude of animalsan independent composition now housed in the Albertina.

The sketch from 1503 shows the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus Christ as an infant. The two sit on a grassy mound supported by a rudimentary wooden fence. In contrast to this rustic setting, Mary wears a thick, draped cloak whose fine fur trim “spreads out in opulent folds across the grassy ground,” according to the statement.

Dürer has depicted the Virgin and Child dozens of times throughout his career. Here he departs from tradition, showing the young Jesus as a squirming infant rather than a well-behaved child. The child turns to the left, away from the frame, baring his bare back and throwing his own face in the shadows.

“The effect of this is that he gives his full attention to his mother while she is engaged or even interrupted by the viewer,” the statement reads.

Last January, a previously unknown mural believed to be by Dürer or his workshop was discovered during routine restoration work on St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. As The press As reported at the time, the two-dimensional triptych, long hidden in part of the church that now serves as a gift shop, may have been commissioned by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.

Talking to Bailey from the art newspaperDürer specialist Erwin Pokorny said he was “certain” that the work’s underdrawings were painted by the master himself, since “none of Dürer’s assistants or followers was able to match the quality of the underdrawing’s virtuoso brushstrokes”.

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