Albrecht Adam
Albrecht Adam, The Par force Hunt (detail)
Albrecht Adam, The Par force Hunt (detail)

Albrecht Adam

Nördlingen 1786 – Munich 1862

In the Original Coloring

“ … these sheets belong to the best
I did with the etching needle;
they have something poignant and original
in the approach ”

Albrecht Adam
Aus dem Leben eines Schlachtenmalers. Autobiography.
Ed. by H. Holland. Stuttgart, Cotta, 1886, pages 23-25

“ Rightly he is regarded as one of the battle and horse painters of his time ”
(Fr. Pecht in Thieme-Becker I [1907], page 58)

“ The principality of Oettingen-Wallerstein, which had an extended area about Nördlingen and especially large woods, tended in these excellent fine deer. As now [Napoleon’s] French always were shrewd in finding everything they could transplant to French soil, so in the name of the great emperor [1806] the prince was presented with the wish (should rather mean the order) to capture a considerable number of deer alive to convey them in boxes to Paris. At this capturing a great hunting personnel was participating … all in all a picturesque affair where every day something new was to be seen. I went around with the hunters for several weeks in the fine woods and drew a lot. By all sides I was approached to reproduce my hunting scenes … Lithography was not yet known then; therefore, once the capturing drew to a close, I set about to etch

six plates of the most interesting moments of this hunting

in copper, which I did with much love and not without success; for these sheets belong to the best I did with the etching needle [acc. to Meyer, Künstler-Lexicon, 1872, all in all 84 sheet] … Then I took my plates and walked on foot to Augsburg in early November in a quite hideous weather to have them printed there … Used to discomforts and deprivations, I took this not quite pleasant walking tour, in which I also had made my bag a little heavier, not particularly to heart; I arrived indeed quite tired but safely at Augsburg … In late July 1807 my friend Johann Lorenz Rugendas [spacing in the original] coaxed me to a walking tour to Munich, where he intended doing business with the picture dealers on the fair. Gladly I accepted his suggestion … ”

These six sheets thus, executed in Aquatint etching and published in the publisher’s coloring, concern the six stations of a complete almost unique and even in individual sheets punishingly rare – five once assembled here anyway, passed on 26 years ago, and by now returned as again available –

Par force Hunt for the Stag

of c. 16⅛ × 20½ in (41 × 52 cm) as beside some smaller pieces about the same time earliest work of a comer. The latter ambiguous indeed. For Albrecht had only returned to Nuremberg summer the same year from three years apprenticeship as confectioner, yet without intent to follow in the of his father in this respect. His private passion, the collecting of prints, indirectly nevertheless indeed. Albeit painting became the heart of this life. A life getting around as well. As court painter to Eugène de Beauharnais, as Napoleona’s stepson viceroy of Italy, up to Moscow.

“ (W)here for fourteen days he saw the terrible sight of the burning city before him. He bore all discomforts of this war which then rather seemed to protract, why the viceroy granted Adam a six-months furlough. The moment for the return was quite dangerous, the road troubled by swarming Cossacks, and under great dangers and obstacles the artist covered his travel from Moscow to Munich from Sept. 9 to Dec. 20 ”

(Nagler, Künstler-Lexicon I [1835], pp. 15 ff.).

The Cavalcade to the Hunt.
Albrecht Adam, Cavalcade to the Hunt
Le départ pour la chasse.

Inscribed: Augsburg im Verlag von J. L. Rugendas / No. I., otherwise in German & French as above. – 16⅝ × 20½ in (42.2 × 52.2 cm).

The splendidly color-fresh, deeply staggered gorgeous prelude

on heavy paper doubled for no reason with Japan paper with margins 1-1⅝ in (2.5-4 cm) wide. The caption field, plate and paper margin more/less foxed, only in the left margin as the widest two regular brown spots, of which the upper one flows ¾ × 1⅛ in (2 × 3 cm) into an even-colored cloud of the picture. Further appearances within the picture proper overlaid in terms of color. In the middle of the lower paper margin blue-colored tidemark. And from two former mat framings – as such would optically exclude the above-mentioned – brown lines at platemark and within plate margin resp. All ultimately negligible in the face of all the above specifics. Capped by the luxuriance of the picture. As one of the finest of its kind and period.

Offer no. 16,281 | EUR 2700. | export price EUR 2565. (c. US$ 2976.) + shipping

Reported by a “famous animal and battle painter … Especially the then very finely stocked princely Wallerstein stables prompted the love for horse painting, and the princely family also provided the sapling … with the first encouragement and support”. And this then indeed developed to the progenitor of an artist family generally active through four generations deep into the 20th century. Yet in 1806 still was a no-name. And in such a manner rather would remain anonymous than to endanger a success on the market of above set, considered so high-quality. So that friend Johann Lorenz Rugendas, father of Johann Moritz, who would graze South America as his sphere, as the brilliant conclusion of an artist dynasty spanning 200 years, confining himself to a Augsburg im Verlag bei J. L. Rugendas. And for whole generations of those concerned professionally as privately this increasingly was, and possibly still is, believed to be their creator, too. niemeyer’s no less exempted than heads of the belle étage of the Augsburg collections. So Norbert Lieb on the Rugendas family in Thieme-Becker XXIX (1935; here p. 180) is quite to be understood to the effect that the 6-sheet set harks back to Johann Lorenz:

“ Worked (mostly for his own publishing house), especially in aquatint-mezzotint [sic!, cf. below per quotation Meyer, too) with coloring … 6 plt. hunting depictions (designs to this: Frz Meyer Dresden, cat. XLIV no. 278 ff.). ”

At least without any reference to Adam. As vice versa on occasion of the Adam study at hand to him Bruno Bushart, see below, not refers further to Rugendas. Cautious yet 1998 Andrea Teuscher in the catalog of Rugendas’s prints (882-887 with illustrations), leaving open inventor & engraver and generally documenting only by means of the photographic archive of the collections. As even there indeed finding nothing in the flesh.

Only the purchaser of the sheets here drew closer to the Discovery of Reality, when in Bruno Bushart’s so titled 2003 Schweinfurt exhibition catalog Deutsche Malerei und Zeichnungen 1765-1815 he happened upon the illustrated 2* Departure to the Hunt, about 1810 as by inscription A. Adam f secured detail study to plate VI – recte thus the Cavalcade from the Hunt and also chronologically earlier – of the “Rugendas” set. And with this scent, unavailable to Bushart, now approached the aquatints themselves. And, yet on one sheet only, struck it rich! Discovering on the little petal far left below the outmost horse’s hoof of plate II, the Breakfast on the Hunt, the minuscule A inside the A of Adam’s double As Nagler, Monogrammisten I, 98!

Nagler, Albrecht Adam’s monograms

As not quite unusual, the reservation as regarding the name had its limit here, too.

And by this most liberally shared knowledge an overdue penny dropped here, too. For looking through Lorenz’s inscription with Teuscher his obviously painstaking differentiation of inventor/draughtsman, engraver, and publisher should have been conspicuous long ago. By which in the present case he should have been out of the question as creator/engraver from the beginning.

The Breakfast on the Hunt.
Albrecht Adam, Breakfast on the Hunt
Le déjeuner à la chasse.

Inscribed: Augsburg im Verlag von J. L. Rugendas / No. II., otherwise in German & French as above. – 16⅝ × 20⅜ in (42.2 × 51.7 cm). – T. 883.

Dominating in the foreground the ruling family with champagne, blue grapes, and other fruits. While the deeply staggered central and small-figured rear field suggest all the extravagance of a par force hunt. The eye-catching likeness of the two ladies in blue as the set’s only two identifiable indicates they are sisters, spouse and sister-in-law of the lord of the hunt, as already indicated in the prelude.

With paper margin of ¼-⅜ in (7-10 mm). – Colors slightly duller, also due to incidence of light slightly paled. The slight foxing on the back conspicuous especially in the fringe parts very limitedly only.

And representative for the whole set with

the corpus delicti of all.

Albrecht Adam’s monogram

Albrecht Adam’s A/A monogram

on centered little petal. Remaining uncrushed by the horse’s hoof .

Discovered after generations by a private collector .

Adam’s preparatory drawing at Museum Schäfer

niemeyer’s is proud of his connoisseurs .

Offer no. 16,282 | EUR 3400. | export price EUR 3230. (c. US$ 3748.) + shipping

That apparently even so no commercial success happened, is documented by the references to the rarity of these works permeating literature since 1872 the latest (Meyer, see above), as Meyer documents in his Künstler-Lexicon per no. 26 of the Adam listing only plate I either, immediately followed per 27-34 by the 8 plates of the Deer Capture, nonetheless stating on no. 26

“ This etch. was intended for a set of 6 sheet, with scenes at the par force hunt … The drawing of the same is by A. Adam, the plates supposedly have been pre-etched by him likewise [see already Adam’s own report above]. Since Rugendas published the hunting pieces in mezzotint [as up to Teuscher here not to be documented, but see above Norbert Lieb],

the impressions from the etched plates are very rare … ”

(quoted from Adam’s autobiography above, p. 24). Culminating then also on occasion of a 4-sheet torso in 1970 Christian M. Nebehay’s

“ exceedingly rare … exceedingly fine contemporary colouring ”

(list 137/12). Not emphasizing on the latter that this were the publisher’s original coloring. Nonetheless the variation in coloring as specific to copies documentable, cf. apart description to plate IV.

The Par force Hunt.
Albrecht Adam, Par force Hunt
La chasse par force.

Inscribed: Augsburg, im Verlag bei J. L. Rugendas / No. IV., otherwise in German & French as above. 16½ × 20⅜ in (42 × 51.8 cm). – T. 885.

Crown jewel among all sheets of its kind.

Just the visual effect has one experiencing galloping along,

splendidly color-fresh the original coloring.

Schwerdt III, plate 222; Schoeller Collection illustration plate 64. – As in the prelude the mistress of the hunt on a claybank as possible request by a commissioner. However, also with Teuscher I it is a claybank, while for Schwerdt/Schoeller this has to remain open. In the coloring with Teuscher, Schwerdt, Schoeller, and the doublet following below she rides a white horse as on plate I here and also with T. (Schwerdt/Schoeller not verifiable) by her presumed sister. The white horse of the whipper-in riding ahead only differing with T.

Margins 1-1⅝ in (2.5-4 cm) wide. – Lower paper margin in the left half only faintly, on the right severely and light blue colored tidemarked, still petering out into the French titling. The partial foxing on the back in (tiny) spots scarcely intrusive on the face, perceptible only in the paper/plate margin and the small cloud part top left. Brown line along the platemark from previous mat framing.

Offer no. 16,283 | EUR 3700. | export price EUR 3515. (c. US$ 4079.) + shipping

For only sluggish sales of the sheet several aspects seem conceivable. Generally the confusion of the Napoleonic wars and their additional impact on the initially freely roaming battle painter, from 1809, however, as court painter in fixed services of the Italian viceroy based at Milan till May 1812, following Russian Campaign up to Moscow, after six-months furlough again Milan till 1815. About what the early works might have fallen behind even more so as according to Lieb his publisher moreover was focussed on his own works. And this passed early in 1826 and only the widow cared for the business. About 1830 the publishing house seems to have been passed upon Ferdinand Ebner there, at least Rugendas’s objects now appear in his publishing catalogs. However, for Adam’s present Par force set prints with Ebner’s address have not become known here.

The Stag is captured by the Pack.
Albrecht Adam, The Stag is captured by the Pack
Le Cerf est pris par sa meute.

Inscribed: Augsburg, im Verlag bei J. L. Rugendas / No. V., otherwise in German & French as above. 16⅜ × 20¼ in (41.5 × 51.3 cm). – T. 886.

The royal of odd 14 points as quarry of the pack at the foot of a slanty dead oak, whose still sturdy branches turn whip-like to the left. As vanitas-pregnant already signaled at station III of the set. – Margins 1⅞-2⅛ in (4.7-5.4 cm) wide. – Plate and wide paper margin incl. caption slightly foxed on 3 sides, lower margin/caption only a little more.

Offer no. 16,284 | EUR 1980. | export price EUR 1881. (c. US$ 2183.) + shipping

Yet with source Dr. Tenner (1979; CXXIII/5493) as “about 1830” apparently copies of fairly the same size and in the same direction of the sheets II & III as doubtless parts of a 4-sheet whole, likewise executed in aquatint by Jean Pierre Jazet (1788 Paris 1871) as “one of the most excellent artists, whose aquatints belong to the most imposing achievements of the new French school” (Nagler, Künstler-Lexicon VI, 1838, p. 425) and whose prime Thieme-Becker (1925) date as about 1819/30.

Thus by no means Adam’s set was wanting in popularity on the market. And that Jazet likewise saw in Johann Lorenz Rugendas their creator as undesirable competitor arises immediately from their designation as after Grusande! As the anagram for Rugendas!

The Cavalcade from the Hunt.
Albrecht Adam, Cavalcade from the Hunt
Retour de la chasse.

Inscribed: Augsburg, im Verlag bei J. L. Rugendas / No. VI., otherwise in German & French as above. 16⅜ × 20¼ in (41.6 × 51.3 cm). – T. 887.

With A. Adam f secured study in the same direction of the farewell scene front right in grey ink and brown brush over pencil (12¼ × 9¾ in [310 × 246 mm]) of the collections Richard von Kühlmann and Georg Schäfer at Schweinfurt, inv. no. MGS 1164 A. See above per Entdeckung der Wirklichkeit.

Final moment of breakup, final words, of the ruling family, accompanied by group of four buglers. Both their ladies in blue mounted on/with white horse. Already deeply staggered the departure of the throng.

Paper margins ⅛-¼ in (3-7 mm) wide. – Mounted for no reason on cardboard, the back of which is/was laminated in turn. On the face on a larger area both the lower corners came off cleanly of the mounting board on their own. The margins uniformly mostly faintly browned. Colors slightly duller, also due to incidence of light slightly paled.

Offer no. 16,285 | EUR 1280. | export price EUR 1216. (c. US$ 1411.) + shipping

niemeyer’s is proud to be able to offer this set anew after 26 years, yet is offering the plates apart as for one thing their third one is absent, for another thing due to said already previous necessity of collecting together freshness of the original color and preservation differ. To what by necessity the then connoisseur nevertheless attached less weight to. And just as this had been appreciated here by a more favorable en bloc price back then it is handled this time again. niemeyer’s is curious …

en bloc price of above items 16,281 to 16,285 per

Offer no. 16,286 | EUR 9980. | export price EUR 9481. (c. US$ 11002.) + shipping

Doublet of Plate IV Varying in Color & Preservation

— not part of the en bloc offer 16,286 —

Albrecht Adam, The Par force Hunt

And what a preservation! On the heavy paper as above and with margins of ⅜-½ in (1-1.4 cm) wide all round, indeed, indeed, yet as to be expected. Absolutely not, however, its

practically untouched freshness as additionally most extremely rare!

In short, of utmost beauty. – Contrary to the above copy the mistress of the hunt here on a white horse, as also the coloring with Teuscher, Schwerdt and Schoeller as the apparent rule. On above torso plate IV, however, as on the prelude plate I, on a claybank as possible request of a commissioner. See on this already above.

Offer no. 16,289 | EUR 4300. | export price EUR 4085. (c. US$ 4740.) + shipping

“ That would be great! I will send out a check tomorrow for … Followed by a payment in July then one in August. Thank you for your flexability. Kindest Regards ”

(Mr. L. A. F., June 22, 2004)