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Atmospheric Mise-en-scène
of a Winter Day drawing to a Close

Seyfert, The Darmstadt Tusker of 1765

Direct Copy after Eger’s Lost Painting

The Famous Darmstadt Tusker of 1765

Eger – Seyfert, Eligius (Eloy) Baron von (Germany about 1766 – Lorraine/Metz after 1808; Balclis: fl. 1790-1825). The Darmstadt Tusker of 1765. Oil on canvas after Georg Adam Eger (1727 Murrhardt 1808). Inscribed in German with the brush: Seyfert / Metz 1804 (lower right in light brown) & One such Main Boar / 6. feet long. 3 ft. 7. inch clear high / has been catched alive in the so-called Koberstatt a’rheilger Forest / the 4th of December 1765. and By the / Sr. Landgrave at Darmstatt. Most Princely Highness / killed with crackers. / Has weighed after the mating season 530 ℔. the head alone 85 ℔. – (lower left in black on brownish ground). 14¾ × 12 in (37.6 × 30.5 cm). Baroque profile frame in the style of Louis XIV with most richly ornamented & chased gilt stucco decoration with large Bourbon fleur-de-lis as corner cartouches and 8 shell-shaped acanthus cartouches surrounded by acanthus scroll.

The qualitatively very fine work

as contemporary

immediate copy after Eger’s lost painting

Kölsch cat. no. 64

by Seyfert introduced 1924 by Bénézit’s Dictionnaire des Peintres into general literature with i. a. landscapes with 1789 and 1802 ff. as ascertained for Metz. In the museum there the portrait of François of Lorraine, Duke of Guise (catalog 1891, no. 71).

Provenance

Supposedly all unaware of the Eger relation

Belgium before/until 1830

Legend: French translation
French translation of the caption

Private collection France 1830 until after 1879

Spanish state

( “Recuperated from the enemy by the Spanish army in Barcelona” Jan. 26, 39;
Board of Education / Servicio de … Deposito de la Caja de Pensiones Nov. 7, 39 )

Sale Balclis, Barcelona,

March 5, 2008, lot 1087
knocked down at the 4.5-fold of the estimate

Exhibition

(Fine Hunting Bag — Pictures of Hunting)

Dr. Hanns Simon Foundation Bitburg

January 13 – March 3, 2013

Literature

Bénézit, Dictionnaire des Peintres etc. (1924)

Thieme-Becker, Künstler-Lexikon XXX (1936)

Georg Adam Eger

Gerhard Kölsch

Georg Adam Eger … (Hunt Painter at the Court of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Catalog of the Works in the Museum Hunting Seat Kranichstein)
(with general catalog raisonné; 2010)

cat. no. 64

Main Boar. About 1765, lost painting

&

cat. no. 27 with illustration

Heinrich Philipp Bossler after Georg Adam Eger.

Main Boar. After 1765.

Etching with dry-point.

(With but 11¼ × 9¼ in [28.5 × 23.5 cm] subject size perceptibly behind the 14¾ × 12 in [37.6 × 30.5 cm] of Seyfert’s painting. The caption of both works differing from each other in the wording.)

Wolfgang Weitz
(The Boar of 1765)

in

Bosler. (Gunsmith and engraver in Darmstadt.) 2001.

Illustration page 18

Gisela Siebert

Kranichstein. (Hunting Seat of the Landgraves of Hesse-Darmstadt.) 1969.

Bossler illustration page 70

Anna Koopstra (ed.)

(Change of Ends — The Backs of Paintings and their Secrets)
(2006/07), in general and in particular pages 4, 7 & 10 f.

Tobias Schmitz

(Encyclopedia of European Picture Frames
from the Renaissance until the 19th Century), 2003-2009

Catalog Book to above Exhibition

– offer no. 16,129/€ 19,90 –

color illustration on frontcover & page 70 ,
vignettes on preliminary matter (b/w) , text pages 71 & 149

Seyfert Metz 1804
“Seyfert. / Metz 1804”

Wherever Seyfert’s birthplace

— “ né en Allemagne ” , so the French former owner below —

may have been and what ever might have inspired him in Metz to present Eger copy, the relative nearness to Hesse-Darmstadt could have been involved. For, so aforesaid anonymous continues, he came to Metz before the revolution, thus 1789, after he had learned painting in the gallery of a small German princely court:

“ … après avoir apprit à peindre

dans le galerie d’un petit prince allemand .”

Had it been Darmstadt, whose Louis IX had limited, but not abolished court painting, Seyfert would have become familiar with the Eger paintings there. However, also one of the Hohenlohe courts might be considered, which in turn would open direct contacts with Eger. Whether possibly any familial cross connection exists to the ancient noble House of Bibra of the Franconian imperial knights must be left undecided. There in 1734 Ludwig Ernst von Bibra had married the later Baroness Katharina Seyfert (1702-1785) for whom he asked Charles VI “subsequently … for an imperial patent of nobility and the supplement ‘of Seyferhold’ to her name so that also the children begetted with her would already have a noble mother” as then was granted in 1740. Whereas it was not unusual that those ennobled in such a manner subsequently applied for such an act of grace for members of the family (and by this their issue) successfully, too. Cf. Michael Göbl, Die Frau und das Wappen im Hl. Römischen Reich und der Habsburger-Monarchie.

More interesting yet the deliberation after which reference and if any for whom he has worked.

Should Eger’s painting have been lost already at times of Louis X (reigning 1790-1830) interested again in his grandfather Louis VIII’s hunting memorabilia this might be considered as commissioner the Bossler engraving would be most obvious, with the size along with the text not adopted one to one being of no consequence. Aforementioned former owner yet would hardly have met the painting in Belgium in 1830 – the coincidence with the decease of Louis X certainly purely accidental – as available for purchase. Actually, however, Baron Seyfert

doubtlessly did not work after Bossler’s copy ,

but immediately after Eger’s original itself .

Which probably even was in his possession. For, on whatever basis from probably already many years ago,

Seyfert, The Darmstadt Tusker of 1765

Seyfert’s palette is Eger’s palette .

The colors of which the engraving by Heinrich Philipp Bossler (Darmstadt 1744 – Leipsic 1812) could impart by no means. And there is no reason to encounter in him a copyist specialized in Eger. Yet everything that

his present coloring is the one of the lost original .

Just as the anonymous of the stag copy Kölsch 55 has adopted it from the original K. 24. Seyfert’s silvery blue for the wholesale tree scenery not worked in such a manner by Bossler along with the adjacent mountain range missing with him, yet that typical for Eger just as his beige-colored reddish sky, is Eger’s very own intention. Here used for the event-adequate

atmospheric mise-en-scène of a winter day drawing to an end

as then such scenery , particularly with an unparalleled wild boar ,

represents a rarity in Eger’s œuvre .

May the one or other to be attributed to what reveals the copyist’s hand, the skin dealt with summarily at the rear end indeed contrasts with its execution throughout in Bossler’s engraving as well as Eger’s pictorially so much related painting of the chief boar of 1760 Kölsch 22, yet in this regard is more executed than the skin of quite some stags of Eger’s, such as K. 19, 24, 25, 43. As generally for instance Eger’s boar K. 18 is inferior to the one of K. 22.

The latter’s pair of trees standing athwart far right Eger repeated for his present Boar of 1765 just as presumably the tree on the left edge with Bossler, which Seyfert, taking account of no clipping of the canvas, did not take over and by this helped the boar – besides slightly moved to the left – to a more vivid, indeed downright belligerent dominance.

Yet also the hollow trunk below left of K. 22 turns up modified with Bossler again, thus seems to have been repeated likewise by Eger, so that Seyfert’s foreground, which was to receive the caption, should be composed freely. In which, quite elegantly, the trunk mutated into the left-sided tree-trunk whose still partial old leaves set masterly emphasis, while the diagonally lying trunk finishes off the picture and only leaves room for the signature in the corner.

One such Main Boar
One such Main Boar 6. feet long. 3 ft. 7. inch clear high has been catched alive … the 4th of December 1765 …

Compared with the captions placed in the upper part of the pictures with Eger in the comparable reproductions with Kölsch its more reserved arrangement lower left with Seyfert is more pleasant at any rate. Generally, so aforesaid anonymous, his nice small landscapes were in great demand, but he had painted in fresco, too.

Eger as inventor of the picture

came as just 21-years-old 1748 to the court of Darmstadt for the superintendence of the painting of the legendary so-called Imperial Presentation Clock and 1750 he belonged, beside the brothers Knaus as the mechanics, to the train of four, who presented the showpiece in Vienna on occasion of the 5th anniversary of Emperor Franz I and the 10th of his spouse Maria Theresa as Queen of Hungary.

Yet irrespective of the esteem Louis showed towards him – see below – and presumed appointment as chamber hussar 1756 he was promoted one of the court painters in 1765 only. But just as the second of these, while the same day the position of the First Court Painter, having become vacant by Johann Christian Fiedler’s death 1765, was filled with somebody else. Yet even without title Gisela Siebert qualifies him, endorsing Count Hardenberg’s judging of 1918, as “most talented court hunt painter. Depictions of (particularly) the par force hunt and the Dianaburg”. And further

“ Only Adam Georg Eger becomes the true painter of the par force hunt in KranichsteinLouis VIII (1691 Darmstadt 1768, ruling since 1738, “the greatest nimrod of his time”, Hofmann) must have esteemed Eger quite a lot, wished to have him as steady companion on the hunt and commissioned him with a court hunting uniform to put him on a par with the huntsmen, also called him intimately ‘his old mate’. Eger’s paintings were frequently copied by another Hesse-Darmstadt hunting painter, Nikolaus Michael Spengler, in the rare manner of glass pictures, certainly on the landgrave’s request. ”

With the decease of Louis VIII mid October 1768 Eger’s activity in Darmstadt came to a sudden end.

On this Kölsch, op. cit., page 14:

“ On Eger’s life in the following four decades hardly written sources have become known so far. However, the preserved and for the most part remarkably quality, though likewise almost not researched paintings from this period permit to impute his activity for the princes of Hohenlohe, in Murrhardt as well as in the Imperial City Schwäbisch Hall. By the inscription ‘G. A. Eger / Hofmaler / Murrhardt’ Friedrich Christoph Dötschmann’s portrait of 1783 (cat. no. 96) obviously quotes the old office as court painter in Darmstadt as well as the then residence. Since the meager sources on Eger’s family are found likewise exclusively in Murrhardt parish registers,

the painter should have lived ( in Murrhardt ) predominantly .

Probably Eger’s old bonds with his native town had caused him already 1768 to move directly from Darmstadt to the Murr … Yet Eger does not seem to have held an official position as (Hohenlohe) court painter ”

The painting honeycombed with rich craquelure

decidedly fine , of subdued luster

and very good preservation on the original stretcher .

Evidently in place of a framing the edges of the canvas were furnished on the latter with narrow border in brown brush. In this state the painting still was after 1879. On the joining ledges of the stretcher as written sticker by aforementioned early French prepossessor the indecipherably signed, otherwise well legible text on Seyfert’s biography with the remark of

Biography of Eloy von Seyfert

having discovered the painting in Belgium 1830 and still owned it in 1879

when in April he undertook a journey to Metz. By this also on further sticker immediately on the canvas the French translation of the caption. His knowledge of the painter’s life evidently going beyond Bénézit/Thieme-Becker, see above. Imaginable that he was raised in Metz and had known him personally. His journey there in advanced years gives rise for this. – Besides four labels on stretcher and frame ledge (3) regarding the “Recuperation” 1939.

With all these “subtle backgrounds” at the same time yet even

an exceptional downright thrilling elucidative rich example

“ that a painting is not a two-dimensional , but a three-dimensional object

“ … One might well characterize the back of a painting as its archive, for it is frequently plastered with labels and other slips of paper which disclose something about its history … Only by the look at the back one becomes aware of the physical presence of the work of art as a three-dimensional object. Such material properties of paintings are the central starting point of the present exhibition project Change of Ends … Aim of the exhibition is …

to show the significance of the back …

As sources of information … the backs are less known with the greater public. The evidence one can discover along with it indeed entail quite some research to ultimately reveal a deeper knowledge of the process of creation of a work … With this the fact that the back is inextricably ( unless that … ‘yet the respective authors of the notes on the back have not given thought to such detachments’ ) linked with the painted picture is of great interest as the evidence – written, stamped, pasted on (like the French translation of the picture’s German legend in the case here directly onto the canvas, see illustration) – is thus firmly embodied in the work … (and) remained with the work for a long time ”

(Peter van den Brink and Christine Vogt resp. in Koopstra, op. cit., pp. 4, 7 & 10 f.).

The latter nonetheless, however, rather an exception particularly with wooden panels frequently reworked on the back. And has Anna Koopstra literally rejoice page 66

“This back is downright an example par excellence

of a very well preserved back”. Although with present Seyfert mostly only ( ! ) the original ( sic ! ) stretcher frame has been pasted on, considering the variety of the information on the back this statement may be claimed for it unconditionally, too, and summed up

what an occasion , what a ne plus ultra for the collector !

The not least in turn both artistically and in regard of age and preservation – only entirely ignorable small rubs and occasional minimal traces of cracking – amazingly perfect and hence downright amounting to

a collection piece sui generis

frame detail

the historicism framing

is formed as follows from inside to outside:

plain passepartout ledge, as typical for the historicism starting 1860, as one “finds with many replica of French baroque, i. a. … around paintings by Lieberman and Slevogt;

narrow rising scrollwork ogee, interspersed by uniform raised decorative piece;

plain panel; recess;

wide rising , fishnet engraved ogee, determined by large Bourbon fleur-de-lis (Schmitz generalizing: foliated fan) as corner cartouches, which are followed, two each on all four sides, by shell-shaped acanthus cartouches surrounded by acanthus scroll, all protruding distinctly beyond corners and edges. Laterally wide slanted fillet.

“ The development of the [Italian influenced] French baroque frames was deeply influenced by the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne established in the reign of Louis XIV (to be noted: the designations of the frames are not necessarily in conformity with the reigns of the respective kings) … The significant difference between Louis XIV and Louis XIII frames rests in the

accentuation of the frame corners and with larger calibers

also of the midway sides by

cartouches of foliage and scrollwork protruding beyond the outer edge ”

(Schmitz I, page 106/I).

narrow scrollwork ogee on the frame base.

For the essential parts applicable Schmitz II, pp. 234 f., illustration 320: “Replica in the later Louis XIV style (early 18th century), Germany, about 1880, circle of Wilhelm von Lindenschmit the Younger … painted especially … in the manner of the school of Barbizon …

The nearness to Barbizon also shows in the present replica … So one finds quite similar frames in the style of French baroque around paintings by the Barbizon artists Daubigny and Dupré … as well as around those of many impressionists like Renoir and Monet … ”.

Shortly , a replica , so well-done , “that it is considered the genuine frame” (Schmitz I, page 1). And by this documenting without words

what great esteem Seyfert’s Eger copy

of the Darmstadt tusker of 1765

enjoyed at the time of just this its final first framing. In which it should be added just as a point that Schmitz describes as trophy frame just that of a wild boar:

“ carved Louis XIV trophy frame from the second half of the 18th century; made for the painting:

The Boar Hunt : Allegory of the Continent of Europe ,

about 1699 by Joseph Parrocel (1646-1704); in place of a foliated fan or spray each of the widely designed corner cartouches is furnished with one large, three-dimensionally carved dog head ”

(vol. I, Profiled Frames 228 with illustration, pp. 109 & 113).

Offer no. 16,128 / price on application


“ … I was digging and I found you. I needed to tell you that your collection for whatever reason has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you … I’m not a collector, or I haven’t known myself to be … I was going to sell this (sheet), but I just may have discovered that I’m to keep this for whatever reason. Have you made a collector out of me … For all your devotion, hardwork … I thank you ”

(Mrs. D. H., June 17, 2002)

 

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