Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2015 Issue

Dutch Prints from August Laube Antiquariat

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Dutch Prints.

August Laube Antiquariat of Zurich, Switzerland, has issued a catalogue of Dutch Prints. Offered are prints from Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt, Hendrick Goltzius, Christoffel Jegher, Jan H. Muller, and Johann Sadeler. These feature primarily religious themes, as might be expected from artwork of the 16th-18th century, though a few offer secular settings. Dutch artists from this time are among the greatest we have known and these prints will not let you down. Here is a bit more detail.

 

The first two items are woodcuts from early 16th century artist and engraver Lucas van Leyden. They come from his series of six images from the Power of Women. In the Middle Ages, there was a common belief among men that women had the power to deceive and control them using their whiles. It is always easier to blame someone else for your faults. They tended to see things in Samson and Delilah terms. These woodcuts reflected that view. The first is The Mouth of Truth. This legend believed to have come from Virgil had to do with a device with an open mouth. If it bit you, you were lying. This was tied in to men's never being sharp enough to overcome the power of a cunning woman. The second woodcut is The Poet Virgil suspended in a Basket, which features a sorcerer who is seeking revenge after being humiliated by a beautiful woman. The prices of these two are available on request.

 

Next is a group of etchings from the most famous of Dutch artists - Rembrandt. These are from various dates from 1635-1656. They offer a mix of street scenes and Biblical events. Item 3 is The Strolling Musicians, a flute and a lyre player, the latter leading a small dog, with three listeners. Priced at CHF 50,000 (Swiss francs, or roughly $54,497 U.S. dollars). Item 4 is The Pancake Woman, surrounded by a group of hungry people. A child fends off a small dog seeking its pancake. CHF 45,000 (US $49,044). Item 5 is The Virgin and Child in the Clouds. This depicts what one would expect, except if one turns the picture upside down, it reveals a face on Mary's knee. Evidently, Rembrandt started a face there, did not like it, and turned the plate upside down before continuing. CHF 13,000 (US $14,158). Item 7 is Abraham's Sacrifice, a riveting image of Abraham, about to sacrifice Issac, as an angel intercedes at the last moment to save the child. CHF 68,000 (US $74,055).

 

The next items come from printmaker and painter Hendrick Goltzius, whose work was accomplished during the late 16th century (as were these two items) and the early 17th. Landscape with Trees and a Shepherd Couple shows the two perhaps having a picnic with swirling trees and a farmhouse in the background. Item 9. CHF 60,000 (US $65,362). Landscape with a Farmhouse shows a typical Dutch farmhouse, the farmer returning home, a dog...well...doing his duty. This is realism. A city can be seen in the distant background. Item 10. CHF 55,000 (US $59,914).

 

There are two items from Christoffel Jegher, circa 1633. Jegher was a friend and collaborator of Rubens (he named a son for him). Rubens commissioned him to produce prints from his artwork. Item 11 is The Temptation of Christ by the Devil after Rubens. You will have no trouble figuring out which of these beings is Christ and which the Devil. The Devil is not a handsome figure. CHF 14,000 (US $15,290). Item 12 is The Coronation of the Virgin Mary, also after Rubens. CHF 19,000 (US $20,751).

 

The remaining items mostly are engravings by Jan H. Muller of works created by Hendrick Goltzius. The six of them represent the six days of Creation. The final item is from Johann Sadeler, from 1585. It displays The Seven Planets. Neptune and Uranus were unknown then, the sixth and seventh “planets” being the sun and moon.

 

August Laube Antiquariat may be reached at +41 (0) 44 256 88 99 or augustlaube@augustlaube.ch. Their website is www.augustlaube.ch.

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