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Johann Elias Ridinger, The Weasels (original printing plate)

Acted as Thematical Initial Spark
as a Model for the “Blue Rider” Franz Marc

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Weasels. Two in front of underwood and rock scenery, one coming from behind a stone, the other on top of that. Printing plate in reverse. (1740.) Inscribed: J. E. R. f., otherwise in German as before. 7½ × 6⅛ in (19.1 × 15.6 cm).

The optically excellently preserved original printing plate here seamlessly traced back directly to the master’s estate to sheet 89 (etching with engraving, Thienemann & Schwarz 479) of the instructive set Design of Several Animals, How such are drawn from Life after their Different Kinds, Actions and Passions (“These plates are much wanted and frequently copied”, Th. 1856).

But thematically set in context here for the first time

to Franz Marc’s painting Playing Weasels

of 1911, Hoberg-Jansen 144 with illustration.

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 depiction 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 present The Weasels stand.

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 also Sälzle characterizes it expressly in the 1980 facsimile edition of the preparatory drawings for the following suite – as rather rarer for Ridinger, too, he took from sheet 19 of the concurrent suite of the Representation of the Fair Game with the Respective Tracks and Traces, the Trace of a Marten / Trace of the Weasel (Th. 181) 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 .

With the number “86” as changed for the new edition by Engelbrecht/Herzberg at Augsburg of c. 1824/25 and as documented by Thienemann per parentheses, too. – 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. – With fittings for timeless-elegant frameless hanging.

Offer no. 14,999 / price on application