Ex coll. Ernest C. Innes, his sale Christie's 13th December 1935, sold for £155. According to owner's notes, this impression was formely in the collection of Frits Lugt.
Boon and White record five other impressions of this state on oatmeal paper in Boston, London, Metropolitan Museum, New York, Vienna and the Salomon collection in Turin. These impressions are among the earliest printed and are notable for the clean wiping, which reveals very clear details.
The present example is printed with particularly strong burr, especially effective in shrouding Faust's right sleeve, skull and the curtain at left.
The nature of the subject has been much debated. In 1679, Clement de Jongh noted an etching called Alchemist at Work, in the early eighteenth century it was first described as Faust, an interpretation generally accepted.
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