- Museum number
Portrait of a man wearing a fur hat; head and shoulders slightly to left, face slightly screwed-up
Black chalk, with grey and brown wash, and grey and green bodycolour, heightened with white chalk and bodycolour (and possibly touches of oil) on red prepared paper; on three conjoined sheets
- Production date
- 1522 (circa)
Height: 214 millimetres
Width: 172 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Rowlands 1993
LITERATURE: Weinberger, Huber, p. 125; Passau, Huber, p. 13, under no. 49; Kuhrmann, Erlangen, p. 77, under no. 65; Winzinger, Huber, i, pp. 124f., no. 125a (for further literature); BM Dürer and Holbein, p. 163, no. 134, repr.
As in the case of the ‘View of Feldkirch’ (1883,0714.101), the determination of the status of this drawing again highlights the question to what extent repetitions or variants of Huber's drawings are by the artist himself or copies made by followers. The present drawing is related to a version, dated 1522, executed in charcoal or black chalk and heightened with white chalk, on brick-red tinted paper in Erlangen (Universitätsbibliothek, B.818; Winzinger, ‘Huber’, ii, pl. 125). The latter drawing belongs to a group of grotesque heads mostly signed with the artist's initials and dated 1522, all of which are drawn in the same medium and free style as the drawing at Erlangen. Most scholars agree that because of its fresh spontaneous execution the Erlangen version is certainly an original by Huber himself. The stiffly drawn version at Dresden (Kupferstich-Kabinett, inv. no. c.2129) and the feeble one dated 1546 in Hamburg (Kunsthalle, inv. no. 1975/23; Winzinger, ‘Huber’, i, p. 125, nos. 125b & c) can justifiably be classed as copies: the present drawing, which Winzinger also considered a copy, should not be so readily dismissed as such, as Winzinger to some extent concedes when he refers to the sureness of technique in the 'authentic' part.
Although the cutting of the sheet round the outlines of the drawing has a disfiguring effect to the shape of the figure, there is no reason to suggest, as Winzinger does, that the drawing is too damaged for one to recognise Huber's hand. The present drawing is quite unlike the other versions of the grotesque heads in its medium and the rendering of the sitter's features. It is a true portrait, lacking any vestiges of the caricature present in the other grotesque heads. Compared with Huber's portrait drawings, in which the contours of the face are usually defined by a subtle use of delicate strokes in chalks of differing colours, the present drawing occupies an isolated middle point between their finesse and the vigour of the grotesque heads; its quality, as well as the characteristic taste for rich colouring, surely supports the attribution to Huber. The superb execution of the eyes with the intense gaze common to so many of his figures confirms this.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1988, July-Oct, BM, Age of Dürer & Holbein, no. 134
- Previous owner
Previous owner/ex-collection: Thomas Hudson (L.2432)
Previous owner/ex-collection: John Bouverie (L.325)
Previous owner/ex-collection: Robert Prioleau Roupell (L.2234 on verso; sale, Christie, 1887, 12 July, lot 885 as by Dürer)
Previous owner/ex-collection: Adalbert von Lanna (L.2773; sale, Stuttgart, H.G. Gutekunst, 1910, 7 May, lot 311, bt Obach RM 400)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number