Albrecht Dürer - A Man in a Fur Coat, 1521

Albrecht Dürer (Nuremberg, 1471 - 1528, Nuremberg)

A Man in a Fur Coat, 1521

Oil on oak panel, 50.6 x 32.9 cm (19 15/16 x 12 15/16 in.) panel


Object details

Accession number



Collection of a certain J.T. Dobie, Esq. (active late 19th century-early 20th century), London by 1902.
Purchased by the art dealers Colnaghi & Co., London around May 1902 (price was set at £12,000).
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Colnaghi & Co., London for £11,000 in September-December 1902, through the American art historian Bernard Berenson (1865-1959).


Inscribed (upper center): 1521 / AD [in monogram]
Inscribed (panel, verso): Luther (?)


Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters including a Special Collection of Drawings by Claude... Exh. cat. (London: Royal Accademy of Arts, 1902), p. 52, no. 211. (entitled "Martin Luther")
Max Julius Friedländer. "Ausstellungen und Versteigerungen: London. Die Leihausstellung der Royal Academy von 1902." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft, vol. 25 (1902), pp. 146-47. (the sitter as not Luther "as the catalogue reports"; as apparenlty painted in the Netherlands)
Abraham Bredius. "De 'Old Masters' in de Academy." De Nederlandsche Spectator (1902), p. 90. (the sitter as not Luther; as "a genuine Dürer")
Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 16. (entitled "Portrait of a Man")
John La Farge et al (eds.). Noteworthy Paintings in American Private Collections, vol. 1 (New York, 1907), pp. 69, 73, 233-36. (the sitter identified variously by several contributors: as possibly Lorenz Sterck, Hans Imhof of Nuremberg, or an Austrian person; formerly Luther)
Preserved Smith. "The Field of Art: Albrecht Dürer's Portrait of Sir Thomas More." Scribner's Magazine (1912), pp. 637-40, ill. (the sitter as probably Sir Thomas More; painted during the first months of 1521)
Jan Veth et al. Albrecht Dürers niederländische Reise (Berlin, 1918), vol. 1, p. 42; vol. 2, p. 269. (the sitter as Lorenz Sterck, based on notes in Dürer's Netherlandish journal; the copy after Dürer now housed at Hampton Court copy, accession no. RCIN 405697, as more reliable)
Max Julius Friedländer. Albrecht Dürer (Leipzig, 1921), pp. 175, 178-80, no. 92. (the sitter as possibly Streck)
Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925; Reprint, Boston, 1972), p. 197. (entitled "Portrait of a Man")
Eduard Flechsig. Albrecht Dürer: sein Leben und seine Künstlerische Entwickelung, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1928), p. 427. (the sitter as Lorenz Sterck)
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of the Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 132-34, ill. (the sitter as Lazarus Ravensburger, based on comparison to a drawing by Dürer in the Kupferstichkabinettt, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, accession no. KdZ 35r)
Gustav Pauli. "A German Art Critic Visits America." The American-German Review (1935), p. 24. (the sitter as Ravensburger)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), pp. 176-77. (the sitter as probably Lorenz Sterck; Hendy and others identify the sitter as Ravensburger)
Charles L. Kuhn. A Catalogue of German Paintings of the Middle Ages in American Collections (Cambridge, 1936), no. 205. (the sitter as Lorenz Sterck)
Hans Tietze et al. Kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke Albrecht Dürers: Der reife Dürer, vol. 2, pt. 1 (Basel-Leipzig, 1937-1938), no. 792. (the sitter as Lazarus Ravensburger)
Stuart Preston. "Lorenz Sterk" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 40. (the sitter as Sterck)
Angela Ottino della Chiesa. L' opera completa di Dürer (Milan, 1961), p. 179, no. 170. (the sitter as Sterck)
Erwin Panofsky. The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (Princeton, 1954; Reprint, Princeton, 1971), pp. 210- no. 67. (the sitter as Sterck; as painted Spring/Summer 1521)
Friedrich Winkler. Albrecht Dürer: Leben und Werk (Berlin, 1957), pp. 302-05. (the sitter as Sterck)
H. Theodor Musper. Albrecht Dürer (Cologne, 1971), p. 60. (the sitter as Sterck)
Ludwig Grote. "Das Männerbildnis Albrecht Dürers in Boston." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Vereins für Kunstwissenschaft, vol. 25 (1971), pp. 115-22. (the sitter as Rui Fernandes de Almada, based on comparison to a drawing by Dürer now housed in the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, accession no. KdZ 40r)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 80-82, ill. (entitled "A Man in a Fur Coat"; the sitter as possibly Sterck, Ravensburger, or d'Almada; the Hampton Court copy as closer to the sitter's true likeness)
Ernest Samuels. Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur (Cambridge, 1979), pp. 308, 380, 414.
Peter Strieder et al. Dürer: Every Painting (New York, 1980), p. 82, no. 133. (entitled "Portrait of An Unknown Man")
Peter Strieder. Albrecht Dürer: Paintings, Prints, Drawings (Hesse, Germany, 1981; trans., New York, 1981), pp. 246, 248, fig. 285. (the sitter as d'Almada)
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 298-302, 307-09, 327-29, 670.
Fedja Anzelewsky. Albrecht Dürer: Das Malerische Werk (Berlin, 1991), pp. 52, 86, 262, 265-67, 275, cat. 164, pl. 161, no. 171. (the sitter as Rodrigo d'Almada; identified the sitter as Sterck in the 1971 edition)
Adalgisa Lugli. Albrecht Dürer: Viaggio nei Paesi Bassi (Turin, 1995), p. 67, fig. 32. (the sitter as Sterck; as painted in Antwerp, March 1521)
Hubertus Schulte Herbrüggen (ed.). More to Cranevelt: New Baudouin Letters (Leuven, 1997), p. 94, n334. (the sitter as Sterck, formerly Thomas More; the Hampton Court copy as Ravensburger?)
Katherine Crawford Luber. Albrecht Dürer and the Venetian Renaissance (Cambridge, UK, 2005), pp. 18, 33, fig. 29. (entitled "Portrait of a Man")
Cynthia Saltzman. Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures (New York: Penguin Books, 2008), pp. 86, 92.
Hannah Belcher. "Portrait of a Man in a Fur Coat." Royal Collection Trust Online, acessed 2012. (the sitter as disputed; dates the Hampton Court copy to about 1500-1530)
Jane Campbell Hutchinson. Albrecht Durer: A Guide to Research (New York, 2013), pp. 97, 278. (the sitter as d'Almada)

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Painted, according to the inscription at the top center, in 1521. At that time Durer was traveling in the Netherlands. The stern, unflattering characterization is typical of the artist's work. In the face especially, the picture has suffered from loss of the original paint, but even so, it retains much of the sitter's personality and of the artist's powerful draftsmanship.