1691  Louis VIII  1768

of  Hesse-Darmstadt

to the

Johann Christian Fiedler, Louis VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt

17th October 2008

Johann Christian Fiedler’s portrait of the landgrave as with 31 × 24⅜ in (78.7 × 61.8 cm) as well imperial as just unique mezzotint by Johann Jacob Haid (1704-1767) as a typographic one-plate monument.

Offer no. 15,271  sold , but see below

Grandseigneur  among  His  Peers

(1691 Darmstadt 1768, reigning since 1738,
married 1717 countess Charlotte of Hanau-Lichtenberg [1700-1726]),
the  famous  son

of Ernst Ludwig of Hesse-Darmstadt, who introduced the par force hunt (see below) in his landgraviate, and the Dorothea Charlotte of Brandenburg-Ansbach. “Greatest nimrod of his time” (Hofmann) he then also resided at Kranichstein (see in the following). Overleaf in full outfit as commander-in-chief – so in the Seven Years’ War on the side of Austria – , certainly, but covered by the lasting fame as

one  of  the  most  refined  princes  of  his  time ,

ultimately living the motto of the high Danish order visibly esteemed by him Magnanimi pretium – The Reward of the High-Minded. While his support of the arts was great, so his imaginativeness proverbial:

“ Again and again (he) invented new equipment and tools for the hunt … He owned game transport carriages and mobile hunting-lodges which could be heated. Furthermore carriages with swivel-chairs to be able to shoot to all sides. Besides vehicles, too, on which one sat astraddle on a center part covered with leather and which had a compartment for the hounds at the rear end ”

(Hofmann, Guide through the Museum Hunting Seat Kranichstein, p. 8).

In this context it also should be thought of that small stool in the hunting parlor in Kranichstein with its four leather-bound volumes “whose title is ‘Voyage des Pays bas’. This ‘Voyage through the Netherlands’ turns out to be a room toilet though”. Also the bedrooms there “– one may hear and be amazed – had already in the year 1568 its own toilet each what was barely imaginable for those days” (Hofmann pp. 11 + 13). And not least initiated by him the paintings on sheet metal by the court hunting painters dedicated to the peculiarities of the hunt as today’s market rarities (see below).

And just as his painters secured finest co-operation also from the outside – so also with the

Ridingers  in  Augsburg  involved  in  the  sheet-metal  paintings ,

see generally below also there, whose most important block among the personally ascribable works not accidentally falls on Hesse-Darmstadt – so in respect of battle scenes that of the local Baron Christian of Löwenstern (1701 Darmstadt 1754), generally closely connected with the court in Darmstadt and an amateur artist like Goethe with most extensive painted œuvre, however, also working as poet & composer, who probably also for the overleaf picture gladly contributed the background battle scenes for his friend Fiedler.

To remember Louis VIII 240th anniversary of death is together a retrospective view at an epoch important both culture historically and artistically. With just the art of the century as increasingly acknowledged as neglected and therefore aimed at field of research. That the court at Darmstadt and its environs wrote plain art history in the early 20th century by the Ernst Ludwig Press founded by grand duke Ernst Ludwig as private press and the artist colony there with Olbrich’s Mathildenhöhe up to the legendary Centennial Exhibition of German Art 1650-1800 documents a courtly exception whose roots are fed not least by Louis VIII strong personality determined by connoisseurship and intellectual agility.



strong  House  Kranichstein  near  Darmstadt

from the beginning accompanying the line of the Hesse-Darmstadt Landgraves

Ridinger, Martin Elias (1731 Augsburg 1780). This Stag of 3 Antlers was hunted par force by His Princely Highness the Ruling Landgrave LOUIS VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt

in  the  Great  Pheasantry  near  Cranichstein

(Crane’s Rock) Aug. 11, 1753, where the same set above a wall 12 shoe high and escaped, but was shot after the rutting season of the very same year at the border in high counts’ Erbach Schönberg area. Etching + engraving after Georg Adam Eger (1727 Murrhardt 1808). (1767/68.) Inscribed: G. A. Eger delineav. et pinxit. / M. El. Ridinger sculps. Aug. Vindel., otherwise in German as above. 14⅝ × 9¾ in (37 × 24.9 cm).

Thienemann + Schwarz 339; Ridinger Catalogue Darmstadt, 1999, VI.10 with illustration on front cover + page 126; Siebert-Weitz, Ridinger, 1999, pp. 44 f. with ills.)

The famous stag of 3 antlers as sheet 97 of the Representation of the Most Wondrous Deer and other Animals and together

one  of  the  first  views  of  Kranichstein

important, too, for the history of construction :

“ The construction of the castle in – here well visible – three wings is an early,

if  not  even  the  first  example  of  this  style ,

which later has been taken over at other castles, too ”

(Lohmann, Georg I. und die Anfänge von Jagdschloß Kranichstein, no year, p. 70, after Dehio, Handbuch der dt. Kunstdenkmäler, vol. Hesse, 1982, p. 518).

Already depicted in the hunting diary of Louis VIII the stag of 10 points (2 x 3, 1 x 4) poses

in  front  of  the  Kranichstein  pool  and  the  complex  of  the  palace .

In regard of the latter one of its first depictions though. Since

“ Views of the hunting palace are handed down since the middle of the 18th century only, all from the time of landgrave Louis VIII who as passionate hunter kept court almost exclusively in Kranichstein, as his father Ernest Louis also did after … 1715. Kranichstein’s heyday falls under the regency of these princes ”

(Gisela Siebert, Kranichstein, 1969, page 14).

Yet even going visibly beyond this general documentary value as still

“ with  all  the  buildings  of  its  immediate  environs

which  had  been  removed  at  end  of  the  (19th)  century  at  the  latest ”

(Wolfgang Weitz).

And taken from no lesser, though not preserved in Kranichstein (see, however, besides the trophy there, VI.10c of the Catalogue Darmstadt with illustration, Eger’s large portrait painting of the stag, VI.10a, and the drawn study of the head ascribed to Eger, VI.10b with ills.), design than that by of the court hunting painter who joined the court in 1748, and in whom the close connection to the Ridingers obviously originated, and due to the age preferably lasted with Martin Elias. Because 6 of the 12 plates of the Wondrous dedicated to Hesse-Darmstadt (10 of these to Louis VIII personally) plus Th. 356 + 385 as also referring to Louis and later taken over from the Incidents have been worked by Martin Elias, four of these after Eger. Beyond these after the latter the equestrian portrait of Louis from the Princely Persons and two further designs.

Just  as  Eger  was  “the  true  painter  of  the  par  force  hunt  at  Kranichstein …

Louis VIII must have esteemed (him) quite a lot, wished to have him as constant companion on the hunt and commissioned him with a court hunting uniform to put him on par with the hunters, also called him intimately ‘his old mate’ (and bestowed him with the title of a second court painter after the death of Joh. Chr. Fiedler in 1765) ”

(Siebert, op. cit., pages 63 + 109).

Ref. no. 14,997 / in stock – not cataloged / request description & offer

Follows  the


of  a  Great  Rarity  of  Natural  History

– suggestively  in  addition  grangerized  with  a  vanity  symbol  of  degree –

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). This Stag of 14 Points and still an End under the Coronet with only 3 Legs had been hunted near Meiches (near Lauterbach, Hesse) in 1748 by the reigning Landgrave (Louis VIII) of Hesse-Darmstadt after it had been seen in such a way a whole year long … How it may had happened and how the creature may had cured itself … what human may be able to heal himself suchlike. / Ditto this fawn with three legs by nature and only the trace of a claw at the thorax had been hunted at Geißlingen (between Stuttgart + Ulm) in 1739 by Martin Bückle, forest ranger at Amstetten. Furthermore there is a second calf with lamed forelegs . All in an extensive park in front of a plateau with stoop and large fountain. But right in front a lying vase

“ whose  lower  part  is  broken .

It  has  no  stem , too , on  which  it  can  stand ”

(Wolfgang Weitz, Der Hirsch mit 3 Läufen aus Meiches in Aus der Jagdgeschichte des Vogelsberges, Museum Hunting Seat Kranichstein, 2006, p. 21). Etching + engraving by Martin Elias Ridinger (1731 Augsburg 1780). Inscribed: M. E. Ridinger sculps. Aug. Vind., otherwise in German as abridged before and, for his father’s “signature”, below. 14 × 10½ in (35.7 × 26.8 cm).

The  most  seldom  work .

(“When in 1999 I have presented together with Mrs. Gisela Siebert D. Ph. [†] the work ‘Ridinger, [Pictures for the Hunt in Hesse-Darmstadt]’ all relevant engravings of the Ridinger family actually should have been dealt with. Nevertheless  it  lacked  one  engraving  [Siebert-Weitz p. 21], namely the one on which three pieces red deer are reproduced: A Stag with 3 Legs, a Fawn with three Legs, and a further calf … In the meantime the sheet could be acquired [in this place] by myself. Now its commentary can be made good”, Weitz, op. cit., p. 18; bold types not in the original).

(Thienemann + Schwarz 356; Ridinger Catalog Darmstadt, 1999, V.21; Weitz, op. cit., pp. 18 ff.; the latter two with ill. each) of the Special Events and Incidents at the Hunt – “the rarest set of Ridinger’s sporting line engravings” , Schwerdt 1928 – , worked into the copper (etching + engraving) exclusively by Johann Elias’ eldest, Martin Elias, widely after his father’s designs from especially 1752/53 (so Schwarz by the drawing dates of the set) and completed in 1779, in which “beside actual ‘special events’

also  depictions  of  zoological  peculiarities

similar to the ‘Most Wondrous Deer’ stand … By the references to landgrave Ludwig VIII in some of the inscriptions the set is beside the latter

an  important  document

for the co-operation of the Ridinger studio with the court of Hesse-Darmstadt” (Stefan Morét in Catalogue Darmstadt, p. 113).

For the subject itself the following more recent observation may be useful:

“ (In the Funtenlake area was a chamois buck who lacked the foreleg. This 3-leg buck was the chief buck during a whole rutting season. In the next rutting season he was not seen generally. But in the year after next he stood at the same rutting place again and in spite of his three legs he chased away all stronger rivals with such rigor, that none could dispute to him the range as place buck … One could see how most energetic will and resoluteness can compensate for disability [Thomas Mann once titled a foreword to a respective publication with “Throw Away your Crutches”]. In the same year then the deadly bullet struck the heroic buck ”

(Hans Fuschlberger, Das Gamsbuch, Munich 1939, p. 123, paragraph 1 quoting Hauber, Das Gamswild, without bibliographical notes).

And  reported  very  recently  by  an  old  client  connection  from  Arizona , a philanthropist including the four, here rather three-legged creature, originating from Vancouver where she had found a stray 3-legged cat which had to return to her family however. What remained unforgotten in the high north. And so one day the veterinary there called the lady meanwhile moved to the States, whom the cat now was brought to be euthanized. What angered him. His expectation was not disappointed though. For the lady booked immediately and picked up the three-legger. And she did not remain alone for long. For some time later Mrs. W. took in another three-legger from the local animal rescue.

Beyond  this  as  analogous  to  the  happenings  the  broken  vase  as  of  highest  importance  for  the  “minimized  Ridinger” (so the title of the art-historical speech delivered here to the audience of the Ridinger ceremonial act of the Technische Universität Dresden on the 300th Ridinger Birthday), who adds to the manifold symbols of vanity of his œuvre beyond all the pure ones by this pictorial signature a standing leg defying any discussion and in such a way manifests his artistic genius sui generis. See hereto then also the lecture here (The Vanitas Symbolism with Johann Elias Ridinger) to the audience of the 6th annual meeting of the European Dance Macabre Association at Bamberg in 2000 (partly illustrated version in the 2nd yearbook of the society, L’Art Macabre 2, ed. by Uli Wunderlich, Dusseldorf 2001, pp. 94-112). In such a matter

Johann  Elias’  authorship  of  this  work

is ascertained as resulting from itself and confirms together the conclusion drawn by Weitz from Thienemann’s, however, only lump-sum details (“Thienemann [p. 81] means, Johann Elias Ridinger or the Darmstadt court painter Georg Adam Eger [1727-1808] should have been the draughtsmen [of the Incidents set]. But because Eger is not mentioned as draughtsman one must think Johann Elias Ridinger shall be the supplier of the designs. Always then if Eger has appeared as draughtsman the Ridingers designate him as such one”, op. cit., p. 18).

Ref. no. 16,191 / in stock – not cataloged / request description & offer

Two  Unequalled  Unique  Ridinger  Items

Joh. El. Ridinger + Gg. Adam Eger, Sheet 5 of the Par force Hunt as sheet-metal painting at the Darmstadt Court

from  the  group  of  the  “sheet-metal paintings”

at  the  court  in  Darmstadt

Joh. El. Ridinger + Gg. Adam Eger, Sheet 13 of the Par force Hunt as sheet-metal painting at the Darmstadt Court

as  autonomous  paintings  of  most  beautiful  appeal

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767) + Georg Adam Eger (? 1727 Murrhardt 1808). Two etchings from Ridinger’s Par Force Hunt of the Stag in their plain image size printed on grounded sheet zinc, executed as oil paintings in the colors of Hesse-Darmstadt by Eger or his circle, probably partially with use of tempera. Supposedly 1764/68. 10¼ × 18⅝ in (26.2 × 47.2 cm). In green-bright gold frame.

Kölsch, Gg. Adam Eger … (Hunting Painter at the Court of Hesse-Darmstadt / Catalog of the Works in the Museum Hunting Seat Kranichstein), 2010; Thieme-Becker, Eger, X (1914), 369; Siebert, Kranichstein, (Hunting Seat of the Landgraves of Hesse-Darmstadt), 1969; Hofmann, (Guide through the Darmstadt Hunting Museum Kranichstein Castle), 1981; Michel, (Ancestors and Relatives of the Animal Painter and Engraver) Joh. Elias Ridinger in (Papers of the Bavarian State Association for Genealogical Research), vol. XV, 1987, 396-414.


(The Relays Are Set Out by the Commander of the Hunt) :

Thienemann 53. – Sheet 5 of the set, together title sheet of its second part. – “To keep order with this number of humans and animals … exact places were assigned by the most noble leaders of the hunt where the relay horses, the different braces of dogs, together with their mounted leaders, should stop. Our sheet is filled with such troops partly stopping, partly moving ahead in divisions. The stewards are busy quite in front.”

Offer no. 28,968 / price on application

(The Stag Turns to Bay in the Water, the Hounds are Ceased and He Receives the Coup de Grâce) :

Thienemann 61. – Sheet 13 of the set, together title sheet of its fourth and last part. – “The whole party has assembled around the water.”

Offer no. 28,969 / price on application

In  respect  of  the  hardly  ever  occurring  of  genuine  Ridinger  oil

singularly  charming  Ridinger  top  items

whose uniforms are “designed  in  the  colors  of  the  landgraves , later  grand-dukes  of  Hesse-Darmstadt . Especially by Georg Adam Eger … there exist a couple of hunting paintings that correspond almost up to details with your colors” (German Hunting and Fishery Museum).

The detail discussion of the close contact between the Darmstadt court, here Eger, and the Ridingers, there Martin Elias, reserved to the gladly forwarded full description, is important for both the artistic as also the chronological classification of the present sheet-metal paintings. For microscopical examinations on the basis of picture Th. 61 in both the Regional Museum Bonn and the Municipal Art Collections Augsburg – repeated thanks for this to Mrs. Kalus and Mr. Beier – have revealed unobjectionably that the painting was not effected on mounted impressions on paper, for which according to the kind information of the paper restorer of the Art Museum Bonn, Mrs. Büttner, sheet-zinc would not be suitable just for pure technical reasons, the plates, however, show in every detail the full image part of the engravings, they thus must be, as known as quite possible, direct impressions from the original plates onto the grounding of the plate-zinc. This, however, inevitably requires the co-operation of the Ridingers, as given by the afore-mentioned close connection.

The background of such a treatment being beyond the daily scope is set by the according habits of Louis VIII. His imaginativeness, however, was proverbial as already pointed out above.

This outright court-specific inventive frame not least filled by the sheet-metal painting under Louis VIII, too. Its function was manifold. For once it was meant to capture oddnesses of the hunt itself in picture and explanatory text, thus analoguesly to Ridinger’s engravings of the Most Wondrous Deer, Th. 242 ff., or the Special Events and Incidents at the Hunt, Th. 343 ff., wherein it may be regarded as possible that this sort of representation is based on mutual fructification. For both Ridinger sets correspond chronologically with the habits at Darmstadt. Wherein the latter also included in the painting the hunting setting as hunting-lodges and the like as memories worth to be remembered. For Darmstadt this is documented not just at all, but by a very early model. That is that hunting sketchbook preserved in the palace museum there that recorded such incidents in verse and image since 1742, first in loose sheets before being bound in 1751 :

Not enough with this, however, for, so Hofmann at the same place and p. 13 resp.,

“ To many … relatives and his high-ranking friends, as the emperor in Vienna, too, he sent copies of the already mentioned (tinny) stag portraits (just as we send photographs today) to report what hunting luck Diana has blessed him with. ”


“ always it is an evidence of how far the Hesse-Darmstadt hunt spread its message into the country and gave spurs to its artists for high performances for about 1750 (besides the portrait court painters) no less than 4 court hunting painters were employed permanently. ”

Coinciding with this environment the painting over, executed likewise on plate-zinc, from  Ridinger’s  Par  Force  Hunt which originally should have been done as complete set of all 16 stations and quite singularly corresponding with Louis’ predilections.

Shining  in  the  local  colors , dark  in  the  wood  parts ,

silvery  cool  in  the  treatment  of  the  sky

of Th. 53, the palette is apparently influenced by the etched design, which latter for instance does not intend the Darmstadt post horn of the saddlecloth. That the bow at the tricorne is held in blue instead of red here meets its counterpart in various color divergences of the Eger attribution of item 1 of the catalog raisonné, thus not only in the scope of the rejected works and copies (48 ff.). Besides the unsigned works of Eger and his assistants, so Wolfgang Weitz, co-founder of Stiftung Hessischer Jägerhof, largely not to be distinguished from each other.

The condition of the paintings utterly fine. The certain granularity to the opinion of the concerned restorers either traces of oxidation of the plates or resulting from their roughening for better adhesion, yet not jeopardizing the painting. Also the varnish were healthy. In short ,

plates  to  seize  the  opportunity .

Plates  that  counter  the  almost  oilless  state  of  the  Ridingers

most  splendidly .

For already the just 50-year-old had “nevermore believed that (he) would take the brush once more” as he expressed with letter of June 29, 1748, towards Wille in Paris, together complaining that he could not avoid to accept a correspondingly renewed desire of Catherine the Great for four further oils in St. Petersburg.


“ The  origins  of  the  trophy  cult  are  attributed

to Emperor Maximilian I … went down in hunting history as ‘Mighty Hunter’ …

Luxuriant deer antlers and abnormal alterations of antlers were demanded trophies. Especially richness of points and the grotesqueness of antlers pleased the heart … In the Baroque age one hurt the newly grown antlers in the velvet in places to achieve by this even greater richness in points ”

(Arnulf Rosenstock, [Of the Myth Stag], in catalog Darmstadt, p. 42).


The  “Round”  or  “Mirror”  Stag –

hunting  historically + pictorially  fascinating

As already above, again by Martin Elias, his father’s design here ascertained however and inscribed as following:

“ This Large Strong Stag of 16 Points whose antlers were grown together above in such a way that one could not pass through with the back of a knife and additionally even with a point grown up under the coronet has been hunted by his highness the ruling Landgrave Louis (VIII) of Hesse-Darmstadt in the Ruppen Fang Aug. 23, 1740 … Joh. El. Ridinger inv. del. et exc. Aug. Vind. / Martin El. Ridinger sculps. ”

13¾ × 10¼ in (34.9 × 26.1 cm). – Sheet 90 of the Wondrous, Thienemann + Schwarz 332; Ridinger catalogue Darmstadt, 1999, VI.9, “The Round Stag”, with ills.; Siebert-Weitz, Ridinger, 1999, pp. 42 f., “The Mirror Stag” because “the growth could give the frame for an oval mirror”, with ills.).

“ 1740  the  landgrave  shot  a  stag  of  16  points

whose  antlers  had  closed  at  the  tips  like  a  crown .

It hangs in the round hall (‘Rondellsaal’) together with the stag’s portrait, was painted by Spengler, engraved by Ridinger, and still in the 19th century copied by head forester Koch ”

(Gisela Siebert, Kranichstein, 1969, page 65).

“ Model for the engraving presumably was a drawing from the antlers which Ridinger got sent from Darmstadt ”

(Catalog Darmstadt. Illustrated there under VI.9a also the oil possibly by Zacharias Sonntag).

Ref. no. 15,010 / in stock – not cataloged / request description & offer

“ … it  seems  as  if … Ridinger  had  intended  a  second  set  of  the

‘ Princely  Persons  on  Horseback ’ ”

Ridinger, Martin Elias (1731 Augsburg 1780). Ludovjcus VIII. D. G. Landgravius Hassiæ-D(armstadiæ). Princeps Hersfeldiae, Comes in … Nidda, Schaumburgo, Isenburgo et Budinga etc. Sacræ Cæsareæ ac Regiæ Hungaricæ et Bohemicæ Apostol. Majestatis Supremus Campo Mareschallus …

On  his

Martin Elias Ridinger, Louis VIII Hesse-Darmstadt

proverbial  dapple

with baton rested on the right thigh, riding at calm walk towards a drawing up of forces in hilly landscape to the left. Etching + engraving after Georg Adam Eger (1727 Murrhardt 1808). Inscribed: G. A. Eger Serenissimi Landgr. Pictor, pinxit. / Mart. El. Ridinger sculps. Aug. Vind., otherwise as above with the rich escutcheon held by lion shield-bearers in the center. 14⅝ × 10⅜ in (37 × 26.3 cm).

Thienemann-Stillfried (1876) + Schwarz (1910) 1378; Reich auf Biehla 280 ( “Fine sheet … Extremely rare”, 1894 ! ); Siebert, Kranichstein (1969), ills. p. 62; Ridinger catalogue Darmstadt (1999) VI.25 with ills.; Siebert-Weitz, Ridinger – (Pictures on the Hunt in Hesse-Darmstadt) (1999), pp. 52 f. with illustration.

Not  in  the  extensive  Ridinger  inventories

of Weigel, Art Stock Catalog I-XXVIII (1838/56), Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885), Coppenrath (1889/90), Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger; 1900) + Schwerdt (1928/35) as well as the opulent Ridinger collection Count Faber-Castell (1958) and the hippological collections Anderhub (1963) + Sarasin (1999). Just as then through the decades also here present for the first time.

The  equestrian  desideratum  – if  then  known  at  all –

hurting  in  many  places

on heavy laid paper with surrounding margin mostly 8 mm wide, here from the rich Ridinger collection of Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1922-2004), from whose hand the pencil annotation “Th.St, 1378. Very rare” in the white margin lower right presumably originates.

“ A sheet which by size and form follows on the (somewhat smaller sized) set of Princely Persons mounted on Horseback ”

Offer no. 14,850 / EUR  945. / export price EUR  898. (c. US$ 1086.) + shipping

“ Many thanks for your message. Thank you very much for sending the (Anthonie) Waterloo … I am grateful to you for the opportunity to buy the etching. It was interesting to learn about its provenance … The Waterloo etching arrived safely today, beautifully wrapped. Thank you very much indeed ”

(Mr. M. L., April 24 and 29 resp. and May 6, 2003)