Long-Lost Engraving by Albrecht Dürer Discovered at Flea Market

The artwork from 1520 returns to the museum after 70 years.

The engraving by Albrecht Dürer is from 1520. Courtesy of Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.

A vendor at a flea market in Sarrebourg, France, was apparently completely oblivious to the fact that he had a rare artwork on his hands. A sharp-eyed collector on a treasure hunt in Alsace spotted a 16th century engraving by Albrecht Dürer at the flea market, and instead of holding on to it, decided to return it to the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart after noticing the museum’s stamp on the back, German press agency DPA reports.

The work, which shows a majestic depiction of Mary holding baby Jesus and being crowned by an angel, was listed in the Lost Art Database of the German center Kulturgutverluste and considered a war loss after having disappeared about 70 years ago. It is assumed that the artwork was brought to France after 1945.

“We are very grateful that, after more than 70 years, the work came to the hands of an art lover who did not keep his valuable find for themselves, but returned it to the public instead,” the museum’s director Christiane Lange said on Thursday.

The engraving is dated 1520, and bears the stamp of the Staatsgalerie on its back. “It is in a very good condition, even the original passepartout of the museum’s collection is still intact,” said the curator of the Prints and Drawings Department Hans-Martin Kaulbac.

The museum did not comment on the value of the work. It is part of a series of 15 engravings with representations of Mary and baby Jesus that Dürer created at different times. Stuttgart’s Staatsgalerie’s portfolio of prints by Dürer includes some 250 works from all phases of his creations.

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