Fine Early Prints (Mrs. Felix Warburg Collection)
- Dates: March 1936 through date unknown, 1936
- Organizing Department: Prints, Drawings and Photographs
April 5, 1936: A group of prints from the private collection of Mr. Felix Warburg has been lent to the Brooklyn Museum and placed on exhibition in the new gallery of Medieval Art. Mr. Warburg's collection of prints is notable contains many rarities such as prints by the Master E. S., the Master of the Banderoles, Wenzel von Olmutz as well as single sheet woodcuts fo the XVth Century. Some of the XVth Century German and Flemish prints are examples of the earliest pictures printing in Europe.
"The Annunication with the Visitation and Nativity" after the Master of the Banderoles, Cologne, ca. 1455-70, is a metal engraving in the "mannière criblée," the detted manner, a technique borrowed from the goldsmith, which is especially interesting to the student of prints. It was printed in intaglio (i.e. as any engraving or etching would be) although the plate was engraved for relief printing. Impressions from this plate printed in both manners were known. The anonymous artist shows clearly the influence of Roger van der Weyden. This print was formerly in the Liphart Collection. The print of "Christ's Entry into Jerusalem," South German, ca. 1470, is also a metal engraving in the dotted manner. It was printed in relief and colored by hand.
The exceptionally fine impressions of engravings by Martin Schongauer included "Peasants Going to Market," "St. Michael Slaying the Dragon," and "The Nativity." The last two were formerly in the Junius S. Morgan Collection. There are nine very rare Nielli. Many Nielli are known in hardly more than two or three impressions; frequently they are unique, as are a number of Mr. Warburg's prints. These impressions were made by goldsmiths as a record of their work.
They made small gold or silver plaques to be mounted, as a jewel would have been, in Crosses or in other objects. The goldsmiths filled these intaglio plaques with graphite and linseed oil, later with printer's ink, and took one or two impression for their personal records. The subjects of those shown are "st. Paul," "The Virgin," "St. Peter," "St. John," "St. Francis," "The Virgin and Child and St. Anne," "The Conversion of St. Paul," and "The Mass of St. Gregory."
Prints by Israhel van Meckenem are also not frequently to be met with, particularly when the impressions are as brilliant as the ones to be seen at the Brooklyn Museum. One of this early Master's most important engravings "Judith" with a most interesting view of the battle of Betulia is among the prints of the collection. The other print by can MacKenem is the "Tree of Jesse and the Genealogy of Christ."
Shortly after the invention of printing the art of engraving was rapidily developed almost exclusively by German and Flemish craftsman. Examples of their work, extremely rare now, show the high degree of skill they attained in a short time.