For an exceptionally Beautiful Deepening
of Your Ridinger Collection
“ One knows the fate of (Watteau’s) miracle ‘The Embarkation to Cythera’: the Paris version, whose immediacy is greater than that of the one in Potsdam, stood for years in a room of the Paris (art) academy and served the pupils of (Jacques Louis) David as opportunity to train their aim in the throwing of little bread balls (and even worse).
Watteau + Jullienne
Their Bewitching Double Portrait
as Document of a Friendship
Inspiring Ridinger to his Self Portrait in the Woods
( Th. XIX/1 )
Watteau – Jullienne – Tardieu, Nicolas-Henri (1674 Paris 1749). Assis, au près de toy … Beside you I sit, under these lovely shadowy trees. In fine parkland with female statue turning her back on the friends in the background Watteau, standing with palette in the raised left and supporting himself with the right on the maulstick, at the side of the cloth manufacturer, dyer + collector Jullienne sitting to his right and playing music (5-stringed floor-standing instrument; gamba/contrabass/violoncello ?). On the canvas behind them just this scenery surrounding them. Engraving after Antoine Watteau (Valencienne 1684 – Nogent-sur-Marne 1721). (1731.) Inscribed: A. Watteau pinxit / Tardieu Sculp., otherwise with the beautiful caption
“ Assis, au près de toy, sous ces charmans Ombrages, / Du temps, mon cher Watteau, je crains peu les outrages; / Trop heureux! si les Traits, d’un fidelle Burin, / En multipliant tes Ouvrages, / Instruisoient l’Univers des sinceres hommages / Que je rends à ton Art divin! ”
and a Paris Avec Privillege du Roy. 16⅞ × 12⅜ in (42.9 × 31.3 cm).
Dacier-Vuaflart 3, III; exhibition catalog Watteau 1684-1721 Washington/Paris/Berlin 1984/85, pp. 28, 39 f. + 362 ff. with illustrations and p. 398/I (report on little bread balls, s. a.); Thieme-Becker XXXII (Tardieu; 1938; “Besides Benoit Audran the most important engraver of Watteau”), 444 (Watteau et Jean de Julienne, main sheet); Nagler, Tardieu 63 (erroneously as W. with Tardieu; 1848); Niemeyer, (The Fertile Penetration – Watteau in the Work of Ridinger), with ills.
On heavy laid paper with watermark Eagle (D.-V. II, p. 85, fig. 16). – The copy of the collection HW (Lugt 1388, not identified, probably German portrait collection) with its monogram stamp on the back. – With roundabout margin 1-4-1.8 cm wide, in this at top old reg. no. (?) in brown ink and two further ones in color pencil on the back lower right. – Two pinhead-tiny holes right in the subject above the easel.
Tardieu’s “Famous Engraving”
(W. cat.; “engraved in a … manner of a highly pictorial effect which does justice to the silvery character of Watteau’s colors in a most accomplished way” [Th.-B.) in greatest vicinity to Watteau’s Mezzetin in New York (W. cat. 49 with color + comparison illustrations), but irrespective of the “pinxit” for the lack of a handed down immediate design furnished by the W. cat. with a question mark for the creator (large ills. p. 28), only to be called up in the later discussion about the person of the Mezzetin as evidence for the hypothesis that this should be the trusted friend Jean de Jullienne (1686 Paris 1766):
“ Now there is a famous engraving in which Watteau and Jullienne are seen together
Beside you I sit …
A comparable statue, which is seen from another angle, however, is dressed and not in the nude, is in the background of the New York painting(, too). Obviously it is the one which the guitar player wants to move by his music and his song, by which the theme of the painting becomes clearer. But the fact that it is depicted on the Mezzetin and the engraving ‘Beside you I sit …’, the point that Jullienne has kept the painting in New York (contrary to all other paintings) for his whole life, lead us to the hypothesis that Watteau conceived this painting as allegoric portrait of his friend and offered it to him in pledge of his friendship possibly in a moment when Jullienne … courted his future wife (marriage 1720). ”
Nothing would be anymore as it had been. From this plausible new view the Tardieu sheet grows a thematic gain of quality, raising its rank as doubtless
one of the most beautiful graphical sheets of friendship ,
wanted and dearly paid for at its only rare appearances on the market.
And, all told, there is really nothing supporting the catalog’s over-cautious questioning of the creator, so that the pinxit of the contemporary sheet should enjoy priority. It displays a full Watteau, breathes the incomparable flush of this “greatest painter of France in the 18th century and at the same time the most French one” (Jahn, 1957). And it shows this together with the lasting most important one of the friends. For
“ Thanks to the collection set up by him (Recueil Jullienne, in vol. III of which the sheet here figures as frontispiece) the name of the famous art connoisseur will be tied to that of the painter forever ”
(W. cat. p. 39). Like the sheet itself, as documented here for the first time, as being of the same mind
inspired Ridinger to his self portrait in the woods before the easel
(Th. XIX, 1). For only posthumously it was transferred into copper by Martin Elias, his eldest. “Renewing the memory”. By which the wheel comes full circle.
Purely pictorially both groups of persons are placed in the right half of the image, the sitting ones with the back to the right and looking out of the picture at the beholder, as also the standing Watteau. And in analogy to the music-book on the ground fanned out by the wind with Watteau/Tardieu the open paint-box on the ground with the inscription on the inner cover with Ridinger. A classic example of the old give and take also in art. And with reference to Watteau/Ridinger more at the same time. For like the former “copied those he liked” (Pierre Rosenberg, Watteau’s Copies After the Old Master, in W. catalog) for both his pleasure and inspiration, so beside the already known ones several further examples could be uncovered here which prove Ridinger’s love of Watteau and just also his familiarity with the Recueil Jullienne.
And while it took Ridinger’s 300th birthday to present the work to a wide public, led by the great 1½-years Polish touring exhibition comprising the whole Ridinger, so also only the same occasion to stage said exhibition Watteau 1684-1721. As the “first dedicated to the work of the great artist born 300 years ago”. And to the catalog of which wishes and hopes were attached no different to Ridinger. That is to become a starting point for new research and to help
“ to understand and therefore to love the master better
(then) it will have succeeded in what we wanted it to be” (W. catalog pp. 5 + 13).
Having found to Watteau by way of Ridinger it is with respect to such points a quite special pleasure for me to be able to make available after having traded in the past several copies of Ridinger’s forest self-portrait now also its charmingly fresh source. First
for an exceptionally beautiful deepening of your Ridinger collection ,
then exemplarily for the friends of two masters well received through the times in, however, rather closed company.
Offer no. 15,276 / EUR 2300. / export price EUR 2185. (c. US$ 2641.) + shipping
“ Received the (original Ridinger printing) plate yesterday. Much Thanks from a satisfied customer. You are a True Gentleman … All the Best! L… F. ”
(Mr. L. A. F., November 5, 2003)