From March 24 to June 9, 2013 – National Gallery of Art
Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina
Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) has long been considered the greatest German artist, uniquely combining the status held in Italian art by Michelangelo in the sixteenth century, by Raphael in the 18th and 19th centuries, and by Leonardo da Vinci in our own day.
While Dürer’s paintings were prized, his most influential works were his drawings, watercolors, engravings, and woodcuts. They were executed with his distinctively northern sense of refined precision and exquisite craftsmanship. The finest collection of Dürer’s drawings and watercolors is that of the Albertina in Vienna, Austria.
The Albertina’s works by Dürer have been acquired over many years, but the museum’s ability to amass such a collection of masterpieces results from primary sources that go directly back to the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. Dürer was his favorite artist, and the emperor spared no expense in searching for Dürer’s art. He used imperial ambassadors and the machinery of state to succeed in his purchases, among them extraordinary acquisitions from the Imhoff family in Nuremberg, whose works included Dürer’s personal estate.
This groundbreaking exhibition is a culmination of decades of acquisition, study, and exhibitions of early German art at the National Gallery of Art. It presents 91—including most—of the superb Dürer watercolors and drawings from the Albertina and 27 of the museum’s best related engravings and woodcuts. It also includes 19 closely related drawings and prints from the Gallery’s own collection.