Jost Amman (Zürich 1539 - 1591 Nuremberg), Roman Charity

Pen and black ink with touches of gray wash; bears Roman numerals in gray wash, lower center: IX. 104 by 121 mm. Estimate 20,000—30,000 USD 

PROVENANCE: Sale, Munich, Helbing, 25 April 1892;
Prof. E. Ehlers, Göttingen, circa 1925;
sale, Leipzig, C.G. Boerner, 25 November 1938, lot 4;

EXHIBITED: K. Pilz, Die Zeichnungen und das graphische Werk des Jost Amman 1539-1591, Zürich 1933, no. 218

NOTE: Thöne proposed a late dating for this drawing, circa 1585, but the possibility should also be considered that it was made rather earlier in Amman's career. He treated the same subject in a signed and dated oval drawing of 1570, in the Koenigs collection,1 and there are also strong stylistic similarities with a drawing of Loth and his Daughters, in the collection of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, which is signed with a monogram and dated 1565.2

After training with his father in his native Zürich, Amman worked as a painter and glass-painter in Schaffhausen and Basel, before establishing himself in Nuremberg in 1561, where he increasingly worked as a designer of book illustrations. Following the death of Virgil Solis in the following year, Amman became Nuremberg's leading exponent of that art form, and worked very successfully from his base there for the remainder of his life, executing commissions that he received from patrons and publishers throughout southern Germany and Switzerland. See also lots 9 and 21.

1. See Albert J. Elen, Missing Old Master Drawings from the Franz Koenigs Collection, The Hague 1989, p. 84, cat. 84.
2. Inv. no. M.26; see Dessins de Dürer et de la Renaissance germaniques dans les collections publiques parisiennes, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Louvre, 1992, cat. no. 110.

Sotheby's. Old Master Drawings. 28 Jan 09. New York. photo courtesy Sotheby's. www.sothebys.com