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Albrecht Dürer
Portrait of a Clergyman (Johann Dorsch?)

oil on parchmenton fabric
painted surface: 41.7 x 32.7 cm (16 7/16 x 12 7/8 in)
Paul von Praun [d. 1616] and descendents, Nuremberg, by 1719 until at least 1801. [1] Count Johann Rudolph Czernin von Chudenitz [1757-1845], Vienna, by 1821; [2] by inheritance through the family of the Counts Czernin, Vienna; Count Eugen Czernin von Chudenitz [1892-1955], Vienna, until 1950; (Frederick Mont, New York, and Newhouse Galleries, New York); [3] purchased 1950 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 to NGA. [1] Stadtarchiv, Nuremberg, Familienarchiv von Praun, E28, No. 1477, unpublished manuscript, Inventar des Paulus von Praunschen Kunstkabinetts im Stiftungshaus am alten Weinmarkt... (1719) 9: "N.119 Von Albr. Dürer Johann Dors gewesen Pfarrers beij St./Johañis contrefait auf Pergament von öel/farb gemahlt, mit ein Schüber, Das Gemäl/ist 18 [sic] S. [chuh] 4 Z[oll] hoch und i.8 S. [chuh] 1. Z[oll] breit." (Letter of 9 April 1977 to John Hand from Dr. Max Nüchterlein, Nuremberg, as well as a photocopy of the inventory entry and a transcription are in NGA curatorial files.) A Schuh is a unit of measurement equal to approximately one foot, while a Zoll equals approximately one inch. See John Henry Alexander, Universal Dictionary of Weights and Measures, Ancient and Modern; Reduced to the Standards of the United States of America (Baltimore, 1850) 103-104, 124-125. In the cemetery of the Saint Johannis church in Nuremberg, John Hand found a label accompanying an iron "Grabsteinmass," used for measuring graves, which indicated that a "Nurnberger Werkschuh" equaled 27.84 cm. The dimensions given in Christopher Theophile de Murr, Description du cabinet de Monsieur Paul de Praun à Nuremberg. (Nuremberg, 1797) 14, are: "Haut. 1 Pied, 4 Pouces; Larg. 1 Pied, 1 Pouce." Joseph Heller, Das Leben und die Werke Albrecht Dürer's, 3 vols., Bamberg, 1827: 2:231, gives the German equivelent as: "1 Sch[uh] 4 Z[oll] hoch, 1 Sch[uh] 1 Z[oll] breit." [2] Heller 1827, 260, cites the painting as being in the Czernin collection in 1821, but seems unaware that this is the same painting that he noted earlier in the Praun collection. His description, however, is clearly that of the Gallery's picture, "Brustbild eines Mannes, welcher nach Rechts gewendet ist, mit dem Zeichen und der Jahrszahl AD 1516. Grüner hintergrund auf Leinwand; ohnegefähr 15Z. hoch, 10Z. breit." The mention of Leinwand suggests but does not confirm that the backing with fabric took place before 1827. [3] Letter of Frederick Mont to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 6 February 1950, in NGA curatorial files. Nancy Marshall of Newhouse Galleries, in a letter to John Hand of 3 May 1988, in NGA curatorial files, noted that from the extant records it was unclear whether the painting was owned jointly or given on consignment. Marshall did confirm that the number 57737 on a paper sticker on the reverse was a Newhouse Galleries number, as indicated by Colin Eisler, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian, Oxford, 1977: 16. The bill of sale to the Kress Foundation for the painting, dated 3 May 1950, is on Newhouse Galleries letterhead (copy in NGA curatorial files).
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