Drawing bought in yard sales for 26 euros could be worth millions

A drawing bought at a yard sale for around 26 euros in 2017 has been valued at in excess of nine million according to Agnews Gallery — the London auction house in possession of the artwork.
The 16th century drawing by Albrecht Dürer, who died in 1528, is regarded as both the greatest German artist of his time and as one of the most important artists and intellectuals of the European Renaissance.
Boston-based art collector Clifford Schorer told CNN: “The rediscovered drawing is titled “The Virgin and Child.” As Dürer’s career and legacy has been studied in depth since his death, it is extremely rare to find unknown works of his and Agnews said in a press release that this drawing has been “the subject of significant interest since its rediscovery.”
 
Boston-based art collector Clifford Schorer, who is a consultant to the gallery, told CNN Thursday that he came across the rare artwork, thought to have been completed in 1503, by chance on the way to a party in Massachusetts in 2019.
He had forgotten to bring a gift to the party and so took a detour to a bookstore, which sold collectable volumes, en route.
The artwork had been purchased at a yard sale at the home of an architect who had been gifted the piece from his art dealer father.
Schorer said: “Generally speaking it’s an inverse relationship between how dramatic the claim is and how much of a let down it is. “[For example] if someone tells me they have a Leonardo [da Vinci], I’m usually pretty confident I’m going to see some images that are unimpressive.”
But when he arrived to examine the artwork weeks later, he was taken aback by its quality.
Schorer said he told the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous: “I think it’s either the greatest forgery I’ve ever seen or a masterpiece.
“It was like [experiencing] a kind of electricity. When you’re in my world you spend your life looking for unknown things that lead to fascinating research avenues… and I could see I was at the beginning of something extremely exciting.”
Schorer described how he then began a three-year journey to verify the artwork, which involved taking 17 international flights around the world to consult experts.
This included a roundtable at the British Museum in London in December last year, where the drawing was examined by scholars in the field alongside other works on paper by Dürer, according to Schorer and Agnews.
The artwork has undergone technical age analysis and bears the hallmark of the artist, Schorer said. He believes it is worth “eight figures” and in excess of nine million euros.
He continued: “It’s probably fair to say he’s one of the greatest graphic designers that ever lived — a pioneer in engraving and drawing. He was a maestro in black and white, and his famous prints … inspired artists all over the world.
“In terms of relative value, I think you have to compare it to other old master drawings,” Schorer said, such as the Dutch artist Lucas van Leyden, whose drawing sold for 13.5 million euros in 2018.
So the question is, have you bought an interesting drawing or painting in yard sales – you might want to have it looked as it could be worth substantially more than you paid for it.


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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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