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Johann Elias Ridinger, Fighting Rutting Stags (Neuburg/Danube)

At Rutting Season in Bavaria 298 Years ago

Rare Ridinger Scene
on 275 Years Old Copper Printing Plate of the Master

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Fighting Rutting Stags in the Green Pasture near Neuburg (on the Danube, Bavaria) drawn from life Anno 1722. Copper printing plate in reverse. (1743/44.) Inscribed: J. El. Ridinger sculps. et exc. A. V., otherwise in German as before. 13⅜ × 10⅛ in (34 × 25.8 cm).

The both for hunting and optically quite exceptional, also excellently preserved & worldwide unique

original printing plate

to sheet 29 (etching with engraving, Thienemann & Schwarz 271; Veit, see below, ills. 3 & 6, the latter for the tone lithograph by Menzler; cf. also the copy in Moser per Lindner, ill. col. 515) of the set of the Representation of the Most Wondrous Deer and Other Animals

in the reddish golden brilliance

of its

275 years old copper .

And precious collector’s object of high degree, here researched far beyond Thieme-Becker (vol. XXVIII, 1933, p. 308) seamlessly directly to the master’s estate itself, therewith correcting Thienemann who 1856 had deemed the plates for the Most Wondrous lost. For

“ Preserved original printing plates from the 18th century

are a great rarity ”

(Stefan Morét in the Ridinger catalog Darmstadt, 1999, pp. 62 f. See also the plates there I.13, I.8 & I.11, color illustration 6 & b/w ills. pp. 63 f.).

And especially on Ridinger’s:

“ Of the high technical and qualitative standard of the works of Ridinger and his sons collaborating in the workshop especially as engravers the (only very partially) preserved printing plates bear witness still today. ”

To the same effect then already before Bernadette Schöller in Der Kölner Graphikmarkt zur Zeit Wenzel Hollars within Wenzel Hollar – Die Kölner Jahre ed. by Werner Schäfke, Cologne 1992, p. 19:

“ The copper plates

which on the basis of both their material value and the hours of work invested therein

enjoyed a far higher esteem

than , for instance , a preparatory drawing handled only too often disrespectfully … ”

As then elsewhere, too: “The Nuremberg publisher Frauenholz was so taken with this work that he acquired the plate from Reinhart (1761-1847) for a considerable sum” (Teeuwisse III [2007], 29).

And quite specifically Cornelis Koeman in Atlantes Neerlandici II (1969), pp. 138 & 345:

“ One of the most dramatic events in the early history of commercial cartography in Amsterdam was the sale of Jodocus Hondius Jr.’s copper-plates to Willem Jansz. Blaeu in 1629, the year of his death. At least 34 plates, from which Jodocus II had printed single-sheet maps for his own benefit, passed into the hands of his great competitor. Immediately after that, his brother, Henricus, and Joannes Janssonius (the latter’s brother-in-law) ordered the engraving of identical plates. ”

Where the communicated process of this order documents once more

the full intrinsic value of copper printing plates .

For in pursuance of the notarized act handed down the plain work of engraving had to be remunerated by 100 Carolus guilders per plate and in addition the principals had to bear the costs for the copper itself and its finish.

In analogy to the above difficile large-sized map engraving in Amsterdam about 1630 Michael Bauer (Christoph Weigel, 1654-1725, Kupferstecher und Kunsthändler in Augsburg und Nürnberg, in Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens XXIII (1982), cols. 740/I & 742, II f.) works out the following calculation for the South German strongholds Nuremberg & Augsburg of the later period for “simplest” engraving work:

“ On purchase and sale resp. or the splitting up of an art dealer’s shop … it was above all about (its) printing plates. They represented the

by far costliest part in the production process of an engraving

… From the invoice of an Augsburg engraver to the city council on delivered plates of simplest (bold type not in the original) engraving work the relation of the work of engraving and costs for printing can be broken down further. In July 1755 the engraver Leonhard Michael Steinberger charges for two plates executed in engraving five gulden each and for 150 (250?) impressions done from these … For one impression thus results a price of 0.24 kreutzer or, in other words, 250 impressions would cost one gulden (whereby gulden and Thaler can be set equal) … This example demonstrates that the

principal capital had to be invested into the production of the printing plate

whereas the printing itself caused only very little costs. The principal capital of an art dealer’s therefore consisted of the possession of up-to-date printable copper-plates. ”

Adequately it was stated here on occasion of the re-emergence of parts of the so-called Thieme-Becker Block of Ridinger’s printing-plates “One of the most sensational discoveries in art history … Ridinger’s original printing (sic!!!) plates”.

That the present one the master has worked himself alone

should be mentioned expressly. Just as documented by the corresponding above inscription. – The original numbering “29”, removed for a differently compiled new edition about 1824/25, restored, however, only on occasion of a later 19th century new complete edition.

Johann Elias Ridinger, Fighting Rutting Stags (detail)

Cf. moreover Veit, Joh. El. Ridinger und die Grünau bei Neuburg in Neuburger Kollektaneenblatt CXLV, 1997, pp. 131-143. Although according to this the local faithfulness is not to be taken as an absolute quantity – in the present case, however,

“ the represented structure of the wood

still (corresponds) with the present-day cultivated pasture landscape .

Agricultural paddocks amidst an almost untouched alluvial deciduous wood with gnarled oaks are credible and also at present still replicable. Only the light hillyness should be attributed to the artistic freedom of the draughtsman ” –

the environs are indeed marginally particularly appealing as being

situated between Augsburg as the sphere of activity and Regensburg .

And the latter forms the significant milestone for the development of the master’s œuvre. For here he worked during three years, at least still/already in 1719, on invitation for the electoral Brandenburgian comital-envoy Wolf Baron (so ADB; Kilian/Th.: count) von Metternich, present at the Imperial Diet.

Thienemann sets the work into context with the motifs of the other two rutting sheets of the set described per positions 269 & 270 and likewise drawn “from nature” at Starnberg and Schleißheim near Munich in 1736 and expands on this in the lead to no. 269:

“ This and the two following plates (plus 282 as noted there, too) have different size and shape, also far smaller figures, hence they even seem not to belong to this collection (of the Most Wondrous Deer). With the 1825 new edition the numbers are polished and (together with 282) sold as a special little suite under the title ‘Rutting Stags’ … top arched with wide border. ”

This then the rich aspectual setting of the Neuburg Rutting Stags of the 24-years-old Ridinger, observed on the spot and drawn at a time when he not yet worked in copper — this only between 1724 & 1728, at first still for third parties, from 1728 then publishing himself — albeit without passing this drawing into other hands for publication as indeed others. Known for his long breath, he drew on it only 21/22 years later to add it to his 101-sheet mammoth set of the Most Wondrous Deer worked from 1735 on through decades. Also ask for the copper plate to the title sheet added after completion 1768 posthumously as a Memorial of the Sons for the Father in the second state with the changed text from 1824/25.

Shielded from tarnishing by fine application of varnish ,

the plate is generally printable in the ordinary course of its use through the times. However, it is offered and sold as a work of art and a collector’s item, thus without prejudice to its eventual printing quality. – Shortly,

an extremely gratifying , worldwide unique absolutum .

Proposed to you with the recommendation of a timeless-elegantly frameless hanging (fittings included) for that you shall experience the reflection of the respective light to the fullest.

And what did private Ridinger plate purchasers say generally ?

“ You have surprised me ”,

so a retired presiding judge purchasing two of these cimelies
of which he had impressions been done
(see Ridinger catalog Darmstadt, 1999, I.10 & I.12).

“ I would like to thank you,
the plates are more beautiful than I had expected,
I take both , no question ”,

so an entrepreneur who in the meantime bought three further ones.

And in 2001 the Augsburg Art Collections presented the acquired 12-plate set for the Paradise suite within the exposition “KUNSTREICH” as the important acquisitions of the last decade
(catalog KUNSTREICH no. 102, pp. 198-201).

Offer no. 14,998 | price on application