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Hans Ulrich Franck

(also Johann Ulrich, circa 1590-95 Kaufbeuren - 1675 Augsburg)

David and Abigail. Etching. 16.6 x 24.5 cm. 1659. Andresen 24, Hämmerle 27, Nagler 1, Hollstein 1 II.

Hans Ulrich Franck, a native of Kaufbeuren, received his artistic training from his father, the painter and municipal architect Daniel Erbe (known as Franck). By 1637 at the latest Franck had set up in business as a painter in Augsburg, where he received the privileges of a citizen a year later. He struck up a friendship with Johann Heinrich Schönfeld, who exerted a considerable influence on his artistic style. The earliest of Franck’s paintings to have survived date to around 1630. The artist produced numerous portraits and battle scenes, an extensive oeuvre of drawings and a small number of etchings which, according to Nagler, were “executed in a spirited manner”. In addition to the better-known, 25-print series entitled Horrors of War, Franck’s printed oeuvre comprises three other etchings. One of these very rare prints depicting the Meeting Between David and Abigail recounted in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 25) is on offer here. The composition is based on a drawing by the artist now in the Graphische Sammlung der Kunstsammlungen und Museen Augsburg (pen and brush, white heightening, lead pencil, 16.5 x 23 cm, inv. no. G 4959-74). The etching has been executed in a sensitive, succinct manner reminiscent of the style of Johann Heinrich Schönfeld. The lines and hatchings are fluid and accurate, while the play of light and shaded areas produces a striking chiaroscuro effect. The agile figures, imbued with a great inner vigour, are a characteristic feature of the artist’s style. A very fine, sharp and contrasting impression with thread margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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