The Lion Copy
with the No. 1
Ridinger, Johann Elias. (Representation of the Fair Game with the respective Tracks and Traces, Goings, Get-offs, Turns, Flight, and other Signs more … drawn from Life) / Abbildung Der Jagtbaren Thiere mit derselben angefügten Fährten und Spuhren, Wandel, Gänge, Absprünge, Wendungen, Widergängen, Flucht, und anderer Zeichen mehr … nach der Natur gezeichnet, samt einer Erklärung darüber. Augsburg, the author (1737-)1740. Large fol. 1 l. title. With pictorially executed large etched title vignette “Search-Hunter with Leader” (6 × 9¼ in [15.3 × 23.4 cm]) and, mixed with engraving,
(c. 14⅝-14¾ × 11⅜-11¾ in [37-37.5 × 29-30 cm]) with plates 1-20 being
proofs before the numbering
that had been added in the right sequence at the same place in pen and ink
by the master himself
as it is the conviction here sounded by wide comparisons of the numbers with Ridinger’s writing. Additionally
with two other important deviations .
Ruby red morocco volume with 5 ornamental raised bands, 2 dark green back-plates, gilt two-piece title on the front + Ridinger-stag vignette on the back cover, gilt lines on both, and ruby red fly leaves. In desert-colored morocco Solander box with ornamental raised bands and with the
original printing plate
for sheet ONE
“ ( Trace of the LION ) ”
in reverse (14⅞ × 12 in [37.9 × 30.4 cm]) traced back here far beyond Thieme-Becker (vol. XXVIII, 1933, p. 308) + Thienemann (1856), p. XXIII, seamlessly directly to the master’s estate itself as removable solitaire laid into the front cover under polycarbonate glass (more resistant to aging + UV light than Plexiglas, but equally sensitive to scratches), inscribed
“ 1. / J. E. Ridinger inv. del. sc. et exc. A. V. ”
Above the artist’s name and below the
hall mark as unicum
– LÖWEN–EXEMPLAR –
( – Lion Copy – )
and in the inner front cover below ridinger handlung niemeyer (ridinger gallery niemeyer), all in 23.5 carat. (Bookbindery M. Hierl Bonn, 26⅜ × 17¾ × 2 in [67 × 45 × 5 cm], 10.5 kg.)
And by that following refined collector’s custom “to enlarge and illustrate for esthetic reasons beautiful scientific works with extras which referred to the person of the author
and had an inherent collector’s value ,
manuscripts of the author , drawings ( , the various states of print ) and so on … to document the creation”. It marked the birth of the
by French collectors of the 19th century as proverbial own group of the extra get-up with i. a. British roots in the 17th century (Nicholas Ferrar) and the 2nd half of the 18th (James Granger) and strong echo in America (enriched book, 19th cent.). Shortly, per grangerized book
“ the embellishment of a valuable bibliophile object
by own addition of supplementing extras. The copy as well as the extras should be
at intrinsic value as in the outer form .
The possessor wishes to set off his book by the extras … against all other copies
making it a collector’s object , a unicum …
Done moderately, each of these kinds of completion of the print has its high value for future research ”
(Hans Bohatta in Löffler-Kirchner, Lexikon des gesamten Buchwesens, I , 511 f.).
And so it was for the ridinger gallery on its part no question at all to crown this as the master’s studio copy for the collector anyway already quite unique object of ultimate desire as far as possible with a now indeed most ultimate dot over the i. And so it took , what it had . And that was not more or less , it was pure and simple all , a ne plus ultra ,
an original printing plate !!
Thienemann (without knowledge of states before numbering) + Schwarz (Cat. of a Ridinger-collection, color plate vol. I, X) 162-185; Weigel XXVIII, 15, before A (of C); Thiébaud 783; Ridinger Cat. Helbing XXXIV, 325 ff., all in the final state with the etched number upper right; however, Helbing 354 + 356 bare of any numbering + 359, 362, 364, 366, 369 + 374, in each case marked “proof with written instead of engraved number”; Schwerdt III, 137; Ridinger Catalogue Darmstadt, 1999, III.20-III.30 with 11 ills.
Thus are plates 1-20 PROOFS before the first edition, plates 21-23 with the reduced traces in the final state with printed numbers, plate 22 printed from two plates with loss of one parting line as known for all three plates from Schwerdt’s copy as one traded here in earlier years and seen as later interim state. Entirely printed on finer laid paper than usual and thus stressing
the brilliant quality of vibrant chiaroscuro
according to the state.
All inscribed in the plate with several variants of J(ohann) E(lias) Ridinger inv(enit) del(ineavit) sc(ulpsit) et exc(udit) A(ugusta) V(indelicorum), plts. 21-23 without invenit. – Title in red and black.
Without the text sheet which “is concerned solely with the traces and could be new and important for the young hunter only” (Th.), the “(Preliminary Report)” on the back of the title covered by mounting. – The plates throughout trimmed on or close to the platemark and, with the exception of the singular opening lion, mounted two by two on full sheets (folded once to c. 24¾ × 16½ in [63 × 42 cm]) of Whatman paper with watermark “J. Whatman / Turkey Mill / 1832”, what
generous arrangement by twos grants an unusually comfortable aspect .
The latter quite in the tradition of the great Vasari (1511-1574, “first systematic collector of artist drawings”) who his drawings, harmoniously arranged, “pasted … onto large-scale album pages” (National Gallery Washington regarding the 2006 exhibition “Six Centuries of Master Drawings celebrate 15th anniversary of arrival of Woodner Collection”).
To the conviction here
Ridinger’s Personal Copy
with a high degree of certainty in 1830 together with the bequest of the drawings passed into the hands of J. A. G. Weigel in Leipsic. Cornerstone of this thought is the 1832 Whatman paper on which the etchings are mounted.
For paper as make-up corresponding with a copy of early print quality of the set Fights of Killing Animals (Th. 716-723) traded here formerly, at which temporal congruence – 1830 + 1832 – and marks respecting state + preservation lead to Mr. Weigel and over this beyond to the bequest as source. Working up the acquired immensely rich stock Weigel obviously had mounted trimmed sets on Whatman, but without also still let bind them.
From the estate the trace leads, as documented in detail further below,
directly to Ridinger himself
correcting his prints carefully .
For the numbering, already in itself remarkably correct and corresponding with the later engraved one, comes across on a parallel to a copy of splendid print quality of sheet 19, marten + weasel, Th. 181, traded here formerly which pointed at the same place the numbering “19” likewise written by hand. The comparison of both “19” made out sufficiently clearly the same hand, showing at the end of the undertook extensive general comparison of signatures Ridinger himself as writer. Who therefore soon after printing the first impressions of the just completed plates realized the missing numbering as deficiency and this remedied by hand at the copies already in stock, but for the future in the plate.
The mark of state “before” the numbering apart from Helbing’s eight individual sheets, six of which numbered by hand, but without – so far as corresponding with the ones here – linking them up with Ridinger, still known sporadically. So in our ’70s and ’80s respectively each one copy figures – once without, once with written numbering – on the market, the first with the qualification “Presumably proofs because
no impressions before the numbering were known to Thienemann either ”.
Such ones – neither before the numbering nor even before all letter, the latter at the roebuck Th. 171 in Bavarian private collection or so – not became known to Wend, too, for his (Supplemental Handbook to the Definitive Catalogs of the Printed Graphic) in which Ridinger occupies much room (vol. I, 1, Leipsic 1975, pp. 300-376).
However, this for the committed collector irresistible charm radiating from a besides particularly important suite numbered in the artist’s own hand is additionally elevated by
– as hitherto traceable nowhere else –
two deviations in the describing caption
still following the respective drawing .
In the later editions numbered in print these deviations have been corrected or changed resp.
The first mistake – plt. 13, Trace of the Hare, Th. 175 – caused by the misleading text and marks of the original preparatory drawing in Munich (DJFM 5186) in which the marks
“x” + “#” stand for soft and hard ground respectively
but then are erroneously attributed to the two traces in question:
So then also in the proof here
“(Hind Leg)” on hard ground instead of correctly “(Fore Leg)” … and with the following trace “(Fore Leg)” instead of “(Hind Leg)”. This oversight described just so by Helbing (Cat. XXXIV , Works of J. E. and M. E. Ridinger, 356).
But only here
this mistake has been healed by etched cover labels
on thin paper .
The comparison of letters and especially the background hatching show that
only Ridinger himself
could have done this.
For as comparison and measurement show
these covering labels are moreover clearly autonomous text engravings
not identical either with the later correction in the plate nor with a inscription on another one of the set and in such a way without any possibility they could be snipped off from such ones at a later time.
Apart from that without the two asterisks marking the soft ground as appearing again in the final state.
The second mistake here
even escaped the master himself
and has not been described in literature till now :
On plate 17, Trace of the Badger, Th. 179, – again following the drawing in Munich, DJM 5195 – in the proof here the two traces are designated as
(Hind “Foot”) + (Fore “Foot”).
In the final state then in each case
“Foot” is replaced by “Leg”.
Helbing lists also this sheet as well as proof as final impression, too, but without mention of any letter variant.
Since for the two mentioned copies of the younger period letter deviations have not been mentioned neither for hare or badger nor any other plates the proofs seem to differ by themselves
with the ones here being the first and foremost states.
Chronologically for the present not to be dated the title with its uniformly shorter comma strokes, a differing ornament close of the red double-line under the vignette, but especially with a higher type area of 37.8 cm compared to c. 35.9-36.7 cm (tolerance differences of technical nature) of usual ones of the first edition numbered in the print. In the second edition (Weigel B; Helbing 328) the title has been printed uniformly in black according to Thienemann page 294, too.
The line spacings here besides evenly more balanced what is due not only to the higher type area, rather especially to a more exact fit in of the second printing passage, too.
In their valuation the isolated proofs of the Representation of the Fair Game stand far beyond the copies of the final state as less rarer on the market. So in 1900 Helbing offered in his 1554-numbers Ridinger catalog those eight proofs at prices thrice as high than the final states. And that copy from the ’70s, too, had been priced with DM 30,000 twice as high as another one numbered in the plates offered simultaneously, both wide margined.
The systematic comparison of the numerals
of the written numbering here with dates especially of the drawings to the set here as with dates and figures on other drawings of different working periods of Ridinger documented in the records here leads to a side by side of quite clear, strong characteristic numerals, which are confronted by others not demonstrably so as has been shown neatly in issue 18 of the publications of the ridinger gallery niemeyer.
So this comparison could just give rise to a character analysis of Ridinger to someone interested in graphology. In doing so it would have to be taken into account also that in the grandiose 1723 key drawing Alexander the Great at the Hyphasis the vanity symbolism of bursting columns and splintered trunks already were present to the young artist, leading him finally shortly before his death to the Self Portrait with Death in the Studio described by Thienemann XXI, 4 and now in Berlin (Catalog Darmstadt, color ills. 9).
Based on the comparison of the numerals alone a quota of error of about 30% could be conceivable in respect of single figures in contrast to a general impression given by words or even sentences. The coming along of further signs – from the 19 of the said marten sheet up to the engraved covering labels – broaches however this remaining uncertainty so conclusively that here an
original Ridinger numbering
Plates 1-20 in their upper almost three quarters show the animals in typical situations in grandiose environment and below
their traces in original size
excepting the reduced ones of lion + tiger (recte “maybe a jaguar”, Th.) as “not to be found in our forests”. The others apply to bear – stag – hind – boar – fellow-deer – wolf – roebuck – lynx – ibex – chamois – hare – fox – beaver – otter – badger – wildcat – marten + weasel – polecat + squirrel.
In Helbing’s catalog (XXXIV, 1408) after all a reference generally fallen into oblivion again to a copy of proofs, recte presumely a waste copy, of the Paradise suite whose reverse sheets – presumely with the exception of three sheets – were printed with text to the set here, one of which inscribed with “Joh. Elias Ridinger, Augsburg A. C. 1738”. The set known only with the 1740 title would be proven consequently not only as appeared in serial parts as besides the rule at Ridinger, but above all as accompanied by detailed text. Although probable that in this connection there never had been more than such printing proofs, printed therefore also only one-sided and used then for other start printings, so in the Ridinger œuvre unica fascinating the collectors surprise again and again.
But as already discussed this together supports the belief, that after completion of the work Ridinger made out the drawback of a numbering as such, maybe, because now the bookbinders could or would not get along guided by the only one text sheet.
Obviously for better presentation the Whatman-sheet for title + plt. 1 parted. The title itself complete, but severely trimmed and with trifle scratch (3.5 cm) in the middle of the vignette and a marginal tear of 4.5 cm settled by mounting and uniformly slightly browned as plt. 23, too. The wonderfully wide-margined Whatman-sheets with prevailingly only small marginal repairs, otherwise fine and absolutely fresh. Only the last one with plts. 22 + 23 with more tears.
Plate 7 – fallow-deer – with printing spot touching the caption, plate 10 with little black spot below the chest of the lynx. Here and there slightly foxed in the margins. Otherwise still some plate dirt on plate 1, the lion. Therefore by itself
of serene splendor
and thus for the adequate collector the elitist piece of its own.
That, however, grants the collection only in company with the
original printing plate
laid into desert-colored ground
its, indeed, unprecedented unicum.
That the master has worked it himself alone
shall be mentioned expressly. Just as documented by inscription. – Sheltered from tarnishing by fine application of varnish the plate is printable generally in the ordinary course of its use during the times. But it is offered and sold as a work of art and an object of collecting. Thus without prejudice to its final print quality.
moreover with a further dot over the i
as stated here for the first time. For no less man than the
“ Blue Rider ” Franz Marc
the marten-weasel-sheet served together with two further Ridinger coppers as inspiration for his painting “Playing Weasels” of 1911, Hoberg-Jansen 144 with ills.
As inspired by Ridinger known hitherto only Marc’s woodcut “Riding School after Ridinger” of 1913 (Lankheit 839) as detail interpretation of the background figure of the mounted rider of the third sheet (Th. 608) of the 1722 Riding School annotated by literature with
“ Illuminating that Marc with his quite intimate knowledge of art history
turns to just these masters of the presentation of the horse
(Delacroix and Ridinger)
of the 19th and 18th centuries resp. as models ”
(Christian von Holst, Franz Marc – Pferde, 2003, pp. 166 ff. within [‘… the Hoofbeats of my Horses’]).
For already his painting “Playing Weasels” from 1911, preceded 1909/10 by the lithograph of the same name, betrays the knowledge of several Ridinger coppers from entirely different sets. Marc shows two weasels, of which the one in the tree, bowed over a bough, looks down upon the one sitting in raised attitude on the ground. The trees besides of an eccentricity which he uses in this ostensible density in the painted œuvre only in the two “Acts below Trees”, H.-J. 143, of the same year. For the thematic initial spark Ridinger’s small-sized sheet “The Weasels”, Th. 479, from 1740 as sheet 89 of the set Design of Several Animals stands. Here, too, two of them playing, yet both on the ground and in an utterly different context. The latter Marc split up. And took the attitude of the two animals from sheet 86 of the set, the two pine martens Th. 476 (additionally available here the companion piece with the two beech martens Th. 475 plus the original printing plates to both). The young one of which hangs across a bough of equally low height as with Marc and looks down at the mother standing on the hind paws against the trunk luring with a captured bird. “Playing Squirrels” as sheet 88 (Th. 478) shows the same situation, only with the difference of a further one in the tree, too, but keeping a little aloof and not involved in the play. Yet the bizarre tree – and as such Sälzle characterizes it expressly in the 1980 facsimile edition of the preparatory drawings for the suite here – as rather rare also for Ridinger he took from “Trace of a Marten / Trace of the Weasel” (Th. 181, separately available here) with the same attitude of the marten in the tree and the, however, neutrally shown weasel on the ground.
Thus Marc designed his “Playing Weasels” just so by means of divers Ridinger references as the latter on his part composed his “Amusement of the Shepherds” after Watteau, Th.-Stillfried 1397, from four models of the Frenchman. That finally also the more typical trees of Ridinger’s were not unfamiliar to Marc, the right group of trees of his painterly forest interior “The Würm at Pipping” from 1902/03, H.-J. 15 with ills., demonstrates. But also the par force scenery on the watercolor “Ried Castle” from 1914 – Holst, ills. 11, p. 29 – stands as further example for Marc’s occupation with Ridinger,
which in this plurality has been missed till now .
The “manual” suite as one of the “most famous sets of the artist” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Oct. 14, 1995) in
the unique author’s copy
waiting on with spectacular new discoveries and here then additionally grangerized with its
original printing plate
to plate 1 of the suite, the lion in his majesty. And thematically enlarged with an additional broadside by
an artistic bridging from 18th to the 20th centuries .
Presented this all then adequately as
ruby red morocco volume
in desert-colored morocco Solander box
both gilt stamped of 23.5 carat. Shortly , the worldwide unrepeatable
for most elitist placement. As a provocatively inaccessibly sovereign eye-catcher, the envy of your friends, reflecting the noblesse of your home.
Offer no. 28,888 / price on application