One of those “Eyeballs of Bibliophiles …
actually too precious to be read ”
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 1-26-2008)
The Baron’s No. I
of the Two Roman Numbered Copies only
as the Exquisite Document of a Great Culture of Collecting
Ridinger – von Gutmann – Schwarz, Ign(az). Katalog einer Ridinger-Sammlung (Catalogue of the Ridinger Collection of Rudolf Ritter von Gutmann.) 2 vols. Vienna, author’s edition, 1910. 4to. XX, 210; XI, 169 pp. With (within the text put on over those already printed along with the text as generally for the Arabic numbered copies)
numerous mounted illustrations
118 mounted plates ,
6 of which in colors + 1 double full-paged .
Richly gilt orig. calf-vellum on 5 ribs with two dark red back-plates and equal floral ornaments with gilt lines in the free fields, even
gilt capital ribbons ,
twofold double line floral corner pieces at the inner and rosette in the outer square resp., all in gold, the
gilt stamped supralibros of Baron von Gutmann
along with device
“ Semper Progrediens ”
on all four covers ! ,
marbled fly-leaves à la Pompadour parts of Gutmann’s legendary Marjoribanks Folios in marbled orig. slipcases lined with moiré. Gilt edges.
The inaccessibly elitist
no. I / II copies
in adequate vellum volumes of beguilingly understated elegance ,
accompanied by a unique pedigree ,
the covering letter of 6th September 1951, by which the antiquarian bookseller Robert Alder in Bern sends the copy on behalf of Mr. von Gutmann to Mrs. Dr. Waeckerlin in Zurich.
Printed as manuscript
in only 202 copies, 200 of which as ordinary edition numbered Arabic with the illustrations printed together with the text and only bound in interim wrappers. The two Roman numbered printed on parchment-like paper only, thus not “on parchment” as according to the imprint. Accessed by 6 (!) indices,
this private edition
Rudolf R. von Gutmann dedicated “ in loyalty to (his) mother ”
is the noblest curtsey of literature
to the master’s œuvre ,
a profusely illustrated defilé right across the work ,
the indispensible definitive catalog
beside and beyond Thienemann
and with the No. I of just two
a bibliophile ne plus ultra .
At the end of vol. 1 the imprint of the printing-office of Wilhelm Fischer in Vienna. – According to Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, vol. II was published only in 1918, which could explain its deviating paper quality in the ordinary edition, yet does not follow from the title still dated 1910 without change. If from this also an explanation for the only parchment-like paper for the two Roman numbered luxury copies – no. II corresponds to present no. I – can be deduced must be left undecided. – Slipcases minimally rubbed, the vellum backs faded to a fine white, apart from that
shining in almost impeccable , untouched freshness .
As the presumably most comprehensive Ridinger collection of all times 1606 sheet graphic & 12 Roman numbered drawings (at least those from Baron von Lanna’s no less legendary old master collection in Prague seem to have been added only after closure of the manuscript) are described. From which results the compared with Thienemann and count Stillfried’s appendix
immense supplementing fund
of undescribed 15 etchings & 126 (sic!) mezzotints ,
23 variants , 2 additional portraits , 53 sheets after Ridinger
and 51 sheets ( 47 by Rugendas , 4 by his son Johann Jacob ) published by him !
Made accessible in addition under scholarly criteria by comprehensive indices – initial words / artist / publisher / chronology / persons / topography – the catalog ensures a due modern use with the adherence to & continuation of Thienemann’s numbering, whose commendable image descriptions are not repeated unnecessarily though.
The foundation was the collection Josef Horn acquired completely in 1903 which beside the almost complete inventory after Thienemann & Stillfried already yielded a number of unknown sheets. Followed 1905 as qualitatively important extension the series of the downright divine Marjoribanks Folios from the collection of Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, 1st Baron Tweedmouth, later Lord T. (1820-1894), in their incomparable French armorial bindings by legendary bibliophiles of the Ridinger time and earlier, of which both the two Pompadour volumes were traded here in the ’90s.
And so “the Schwarz” then also is the reflection of the again and again courageous grab by one of the really big collectors of the Austrian imperial and royal monarchy. To be conceived only before an economic background of degree.
Rudolf (1880-1966) was the 2nd son of Wilhelm Baron von Gutmann and his wife Ida, née Hungarian baroness von Wodianer, whose sister Rose Anna on her part was married to Jules Porgès, one of the legendary African diamond randlords. Rudolf thus was so fortunate that the elder brother Max took upon himself the economical control of an empire the core of which were those titles acquired about 30 years before from the Austrian Rothschild line to exploit the yet undeveloped coal and iron deposits in Vitkovice near Moravian Ostrava, a place founded only shortly before by von Gutmann and the Rothschilds. They grew to the largest iron works of the imperial and royal monarchy and allowed for an extension of family interests to heavy industry and banking. Enclosed by about 124000 acres landed property. Correspondingly the Ridinger collection was embedded in one of quite different dimensions. Including the Silesian Hedwigs Codex which later came through the Collection Ludwig in Aix-la-Chapelle to the Getty Museum. And by this back to America. For there the codex had followed the baron when this “came from Vienna to Vancouver, about as far away from Hitler as only ever possible” (H. P. Kraus in “A Rare Book Saga”).
A part of all this intellectual and economic splendor then, it shall be repeated, present
No. I as the baron’s once personal copy
with the compared with the ones printed with the paper edition obviously hand-picked mounted illustrations. By this, however,
an absolute édition de luxe
for the showcase. In the side-by-side with an ordinary one for everyday use, for the that infinitely delightful occupation in and with the collection.
Offer no. 28,886 / price on application
„ Herzlichen Dank für Ihre freundlichen und aufschlussreichen Ausführungen, die mir die Beschreibung des vorliegenden Exemplars sehr erleichtern. Schön wärs natürlich, wenn sich Ihre vielfältigen Kenntnisse zum Werk Ridingers vielleicht als Artikel, oder Artikelserie, im Aus dem Antiquariat oder einer Bibliophilen-Zeitschrift einem breiten interessierten Publikum zur Kenntnis gebracht werden könnten … Ich würde mich jedenfalls sehr darüber freuen, Expertenwissen aus erster Hand zu erhalten. “
(Kollege U. K., 12. Mai 2015)