The  Noble  Game — from  Old  Noble  Estate

Johann Elias Ridinger, The Deer's Four Times of Day (Morning)Johann Elias Ridinger, The Deer's Four Times of Day (Noon) Johann Elias Ridinger, The Deer's Four Times of Day (Noon)Johann Elias Ridinger, The Deer's Four Times of Day (Evening) Johann Elias Ridinger, The Deer's Four Times of Day (Evening)Johann Elias Ridinger, The Deer's Four Times of Day (Midnight) Johann Elias Ridinger, The Deer's Four Times of Day (Midnight)Johann Elias Ridinger, The Deer's Four Times of Day (Morning)

“ The  Deer’s  Four  Times  of  Day ”

as  maybe  the  finest  natural  set  of  the  old  prints

localized  here  at  the  atmospherically  staged

Starnberg  on  the  Lake & Nymphenburg

in  Bavaria  close  to  Munich

with  moreover  the  master’s  one  and  only  own  dedication

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Deer’s Four Times of Day. Set of 4 sheet in etching & engraving. C. 1746. Inscribed: J. E. Ridinger Pictor ac Sculptor Augustan. (1) and J. E. Ridinger fec. (2-4) resp., otherwise as following, with the respective motto each above the oval picture the corners of which are hatched out. 13½-13⅝ × 10¾-11⅛ in (34.3-34.6 × 27.7-28.2 cm).

Thienemann + Schwarz 238-241; Art Stock Catalog Weigel XXVIII, Ridinger supplement (1857) 19 A; Nagler 26; Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885), 1800 (only “Fine new impressions”); Ridinger collection Reich auf Biehla (1894) 26 (only “Newer impressions”, presumably those about 1850); George Hamminger Collection 1601 ( Very rare set”, 1895 ); Helbing XXXIV (J. E. & M. E. Ridinger, 1900), 500 ff. with pl. IV in “fine later impression”; Schwerdt III, 138; cat. Halle 68, Plate Books of the XVIIth and XVIIIth Cent., 337 (“Wide-margined fine impressions”, 1928). – No copy in the Coppenrath Collection (1889/90) & Rosenthal’s listing 126 (Joh. El. Ridinger, 1940, 444 items).


whose preparatory drawings in chalk heightened with white on blue paper inscribed with the full name and dated Ao. 1746 M. Febr. figured per lot 58 in the catalog of the collection of drawings – with the priority on Ridinger – left by Carl Marshal von Bieberstein (Frankfort on the Main, Prestel, 1879) as

the  probably  most  beautiful  natural  set  of  the  old  prints

in the marvelous , warm-toned rich in contrast copy of an old omnibus volume of a nobleman and by this

preserved  best  through  the  centuries

with watermark WANGEN as the quality particularly esteemed by the Ridingers. Margins above & below 5-6.8, laterally 1.9-3.2 cm wide, at the left the old stitching edge. The Evening sheet with pinhead-small abrasion in the rock part above the group of three, otherwise prime.

The  scarceness  of  the  set  in  particularly , yet not only , contemporary impressions reflected by Weigel 16545

( “old  impressions  now  found  rarely  only ”, 1847! )

as by the fact that it was missing in notable Ridinger collections of the 19th century either entirely (Coppenrath) or was present in new impressions from/after 1850 only (above Silesian and that of Theodor Reich). But even Georg Hamminger, Ridinger market sweeper of his time, owned it in contrast to numerous other works by the master only once complete and beside a precious discharge print of the first sheet just two individual sheets trimmed to the subject. And in 1900 the Ridinger wholesaler Helbing, likewise known for his umpteen duplicates in all states, could complete his only copy by one later impression only.

And  the  missing  of  the  set  in the representative exhibitions to the 300th birthday accompanied by adequate catalogs, so the 18-month Polish touring exhibition of the National Museum in Kielcach/Kielce 1997/98 and the one in Darmstadt at the Hunting Seat Kranichstein 1999 finally puts the unchanged situation of our days into a characteristic light.

Lucem revehit tenebris Aurora fugatis (After darkness is chased off Aurora leads back the light) – Sol mediam coeli terit arduus arcem (The advanced sun touches the center of the firmament) – Ast(e)rifero procedit Vesper olympo (At the star-spangled Olymp evening proceeds) – Jam medio volvuntur Sidera lapsu (Already the stars move in the midst of their decline).

For the brocket the drawing Weigel, 1869, no. 133 – “A Languishing Stag standing on a Boulder”, black chalk heightened with white, on blue paper – should have been used as copy, inscribed by Ridinger with “in  silva  Nymphenburg (Munich) , ad  vivum  delineavit  J. E. Ridinger 1738”.

Sheet III with the omission of the standing second hind it is in reverse the majestic right foreground group from Th. 293, “(Anno 1736. drawn from nature in the forest near Stahrenberg [near Munich])” transferred to copper – “J. El. Ridinger ad viv. del. et fec.” – in 1746/48, yet hardly before 1747. By a water supposed to be the bay of a lake this scenery shows aforesaid group of four on a boulder above the water and at the same time at the foot of a rock projecting into the subject, and on the other hand at the opposite forest edge another royal one with a seraglio of seven. Evidently related, the Indian ink preparatory drawing “Herd of Deer on the Lakeside” of the Coppenrath Collection – sect. II (1889), no. 1918, “For Th. 293” – with the caption “(Drawn from nature near Starenberg on the Lake [near Munich])” might withal prove identical with the one with the equal worded caption in Weigel, 1869, no. 130, and by this as related to Th. 241, see the following scenery.

The group of eight of sheet IV exactly the situation of the aforesaid drawing Weigel 130, “A landscape with a river (sic!), in front a stag and (7) hinds going downwards from the rock to the river. Inscribed: Drawn from nature at Starenberg on the Lake (near Munich). With the painter’s name (this in Coppenrath above included per “Inscribed” as taken for granted), Indian ink and black chalk …”. – Iconographically by the way

“ Stags at the water in mountainous landscape alluded to the famous psalm 42.1 ‘As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God’ and became the cipher for the ‘anima christiana’ ”

(Justus Müller-Hofstede on occasion of the Savery exhibition Cologne 1985, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Nov. 10, 1985).

By this “The Four Times of Day” have been linked up by for the moment three of their sceneries with a local context – in addition each from personal local take – supposedly for the first time,

dominated  by  Starnberg , assisted  by  the  close  Nymphenburg ,

both  near  Munich .

Sheet I with the dedication – the  one  and  only  own  within  the  about  1600  sheets  of  the  graphic  œuvre ! – to the artistically all-round diplomat Christian Ludwig von Hagedorn (Hamburg 1712 – Dresden 1780), brother of the poet and since late 1763 chairman of the Dresden Academy, then, 1764, director general of all cultural institutions in Dresden, here in his capacity as Saxon Legation Councilor of Augustus III (Elector Frederick Augustus II of Saxony), King of Poland:


Potentiss. Poloniae Regis a Consiliis Legationum / Viro et avitae Nobilitatis Splendore / et artis graphicae usu, cultu, amore / inter graviora negotia Spectabili / D. D. D. ”

Having entered upon Electoral Saxon service in 1735, Hagedorn was promoted Legation Councilor in 1743/44 (Privy in 1763). There is no insight here yet about the occasion for Ridinger’s distinguishing unique dedication.

Being able to suggest his present, never repeated set for bold grab once more after only recent passing through of a copy should not let its rarity confirmed of old fall into oblivion. Its coming in was just as unforeseen as its present quality impresses.

Offer no. 15,701 / price on application