Johann Elias Ridinger, Trace of a Marten / Trace of the Weasel

Stood Model
for the “Blue Rider” Franz Marc

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Trace of a Marten / Fore Paws / Hind Paws / Trace of the Weasel / Little Fore Leg / Little Hind Leg. Pine marten in slightly apocalyptic tree landscape looking down at the weasel on the ground. Below the picture the life size traces detailed a-c and d-f resp. Etching with engraving. (1740.) Inscribed: 19. / J. E. Ridinger inv. del. sculps. et excud. Aug. Vindel., otherwise in German as above. 14⅞ × 11¾ in (37.7 × 29.7 cm).

Johann Elias Ridinger, Trace of Marten / Weasel

REPRESENTATION OF THE FAIR GAME 19. – Thienemann & Schwarz 181; Stubbe, Ridinger, 1966, pl. 20; Ridinger catalog Darmstadt, 1999, III.29 with illustration; Sälzle, facsimile ed. of all drawings for the set, 1980, pp. 58 f. (dated 1739). – Posture of the weasel and the lower part of the marten’s tree modified as against the preparatory drawing from 1739; Niemeyer, Ridinger Erlebnisse 1698-2020, 2021, p. 56 with ill.

Uniquely beautiful impression with watermark WANGEN as one of the sturdy laid paper qualities preferred by Ridinger. – Margins above & below 3-4.9 cm wide, on the left 1.3, on the right 0.6 cm margin resp., each in addition to the wide white platemark. – Acid-freely backed margin tear laterally lower left still extending into the white platemark. Faint age spots in the lower margin.

Thematically set in context here for the first time

to Franz Marc’s painting “Playing Weasels”

from 1911, Hoberg-Jansen 144 with illustration.

As inspired by Ridinger known hitherto only Marc’s woodcut “Riding School after Ridinger” from 1913 (Lankheit 839) as detail interpretation of the background figure of the mounted rider of the third sheet (Th. 608, see its preparatory drawing traded here) 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 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 (here additionally available 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 his 1980 edition of the preparatory drawings of present set – as rather rare also for Ridinger he took from present sheet of the “Trace of a Marten / Trace of the Weasel” 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 .

Offer no. 15,793 | price on application

– – – The same in shining, yet less wide-margined impression rich in contrast: trilaterally narrow margin and upper right trimmed to platemark on 6 cm resp. Margin below 3-3.5 cm wide. – On back above remains of glue strip from previous mounting in boards.

Offer no. 15,770 | price on application

also see Hermann Menzler’s slightly varying tone lithograph after this sujet

1959 · decades-long ridinger expertise · 2022