Johann Elias Ridinger, To catch the Wolf in the Pit with the Sheep

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). To catch the Wolf in the Pit with the Sheep. Against the scenery of a mountainous landscape with stock of trees the wolf trap with the wheel-topped pole erected in its midst on which a lamb lies whose bleating has baited four wolves, the first of which already falls into the pit. Pen and brown ink with grey wash. C. 1729. Inscribed in graphite on the back: Der Wolf in der Grube zu fangen mit dem Schafe. 11½-11⅝ × 16⅝ in (292-295 × 422-423 mm).

Niemeyer, Ridinger Erlebnisse 1698-2020, 2021, pp. 262 & 264.

On light laid paper with margins up to 17 mm running around. – Pinhead-small little hole, smoothed folds athwart and along resp., and generally somewhat time-marked, yet practically not impairing the image effect characterized by an unchanged freshness of colors. Except for one the former mounting board’s fox spots had only a quite faint effect perceptible on the back only.

Painterly absolutely perfectly executed splendid work as the original drawing before its being redrawn in reverse for the transfer into the plate for the equally named etching Th. 41 as the large version of the two wolf pit sheets of the set Princes’ Hunting Pleasure published since 1729 and presumably – cf. Th. pp. 273 + 274, a 41 – originating from the large yet insufficiently described Weigel inventory based on Ridinger’s estate. In the chalk and pencil variant listed as 492 in Weigel’s catalog of 1869 – no. 102 in the sale at Wawra in 1890 – the one of the wolves obviously not yet fallen into the pit. – Sheets finished in such a manner in relation to an engraving belong also in Ridinger’s œuvre today to the greatest rarities.

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1959 · decades-long ridinger expertise · 2022