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Johann Elias Ridinger, Tiger Horse with Ear-bouquet

“ As a Rarity was paid for Very Dearly ”

The Tiger Horse
with the Quite Unique Ear-Bouquet
in Instantaneous Depiction

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Tiger Horse with Ear-Bouquet. The splendidly long-tailed stallion in wonderfully easy movement in fine hilly landscape with village marked by a steeple, the fine head with bright eye and swelled nostril turned to the beholder. Apart five horses partly romping and rolling. After the portrait painted from life by Christian Ludwig Baron von Löwenstern (1701 Darmstadt 1754). Copper printing plate in reverse. 13¾ × 11¼ in (35 × 28.5 cm). Inscribed: Lib: Baro de Löuenstern ad viv: pinx. Darmst. / J. El. Ridinger sc: et excud. 1745. & captioned in German:

“ This Young Tiger Horse bred at Orange=Polder a village not far from Delft in the province of Holland

Ridinger, Ear-bouquet

had this ear-bouquet of black color

like the other spots and has been paid for as a rarity very dearly by the manorial family of counts Promnitz from Silesia during their Dutch journey in 1743. ”

As hippological wonder

the portrait of the Promnitz trouvaille, conceivably painted already during the return, was entrusted to Ridinger as first resort for such for instantaneous documentation within his running series of zoological case examples and

adequately hereto then

the original printing plate

in reverse to just sheet 38 (etching with engraving, Thienemann & Schwarz 280, “The six horses comprised in this collection later had been sold also separately”) of the Representation of the Most Wondrous Deer and other Animals

in the reddish golden brilliance

of its 274 years old copper.

Originating from the so-called Thieme-Becker Block — “444 copper printing plates (in reverse) presently (1933) in private estate in Charlottenburg (Berlin)” — turned up again after the “turnaround” and here researched seamlessly back to the Ridinger estate, correcting all the losses supposed by Thienemann (1856) as, just i. a., the plates to the 101-sheet set of the Most Wondrous Deer and other Animals, whose new complete edition was published in Leipsic just about 1859, at what – and only here – its original numbering, partly changed for the Engelbrecht-Herzberg editions about 1824/25, was restored.

“ Preserved original 18th century printing plates

are of great rarity ”

(Stefan Morét in 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 , e.g., 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 concretely 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 (brother-in-law of the latter) ordered the engraving of identical plates. ”

Whereby the communicated process of this order documents

the whole value of copper printing plates

once more:

The placing to the engravers Evert Symontsz. Hamersvelt and Salomon Rogiers by notarial act codifying the completion of now 36 plates within 18 months, worked “accurately and finely, yes, finer and better and not less in quality than the maps given to the engravers. The principals will pay to the undertakers 100 carolus guilders for each engraved plate and will also pay the copper itself and the polishing. Five hundred guilders will be paid in advance in order to afford the undertakers to pay the labourers.” Regarding the inclusion of independent temporary engravers as obviously usage the principals “will during the said period not be allowed to employ any of the following (seven) engravers … or any one else who should be employed by the undertakers, with exemption of (two ones). If Salomon Rogiers (obviously specialized letter engraver) came to die within the aforesaid period, it will be up to Evert Symontsz to decide if he wants to stop or to continue with the work, by lack of a good letter engraver. If Evert Symontsz came to die (prematurely) … Salomon Rogiers is forced to complete the task, provided that more time will be available for him.”

As we realize these revealing details the plates inevitably gain in additional intimacy. Telling of constraints and shortage of time if fellow players did an unexpected clever move which could become commercially threatening, whereby term of delivery and considered number of engravers illustrate abruptly the advantage of the competition. And just the plain labor value of such a plate pointed out with already above by Bernadette Schöller, here multiplied by a degree of accuracy of a map transfer with its, not at least and specially, see above, infinite local inscriptions! As said, truly dramatic.

Yet in the case here, remember, regarding nevertheless always only reproduction plates. What an artistic and therewith timeless factor determines the value then only there, where the genius of the artist himself draws the lines, leads the needle, strengthening the intensity of the etching there and taking it back here, imposing the own vision upon the copper! Here & now then in such a manner Ridinger plates!

Analogously then here on occasion of the re-appearance 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 one here the master has worked alone

shall be mentioned expressly. Just as documented by inscription. – The original numbering “38”, removed for a differently compiled new edition about 1824/25, restored, however, only on occasion of a later 19th century edition. – On the right side, particularly in the caption, some small soldering spots.

Baron von Löwenstern, closely connected with the court at Darmstadt and active also as poet and composer, was, like Goethe, an amateur artist with nonetheless a most extensive painted œuvre

“ of richly composed battle scenes in the manner of (Jacques) Courtois (1621-1675; ‘were esteemed and admired already by his contemporaries for the immediate freshness and liveliness of conception and rendition, as well as the masterly capture of the atmospheric ambience … was one of the first plein-air painters’, Th.-B. VII [1912], 591 f.), hunting pieces, and portraits … For the famous art clock (Louis VIII) presented Maria Theresa with (and had it conveyed in 1750 by his court hunting painter, the young Georg Adam Eger) L(öwenstern) worked both the first two designs. In some portraits of his (court painter) friend Joh. Chr. Fiedler L. painted the battle scenes in the background, so established for the landgrave’s portrait of 1741 … Main work: Battle at Dettingen, painted for the landgrave in 1746. 200 of such ‘battle and horse pieces’ were in the possession of the wife of hunting master von Reischbach … Fiedler painted his portrait, engraved in mezzotint by J. J. Haid (pupil and subsequently still journeyman with Ridinger, creator of his portrait both in oil and as ‘programmatic mezzotint’ [Gode Krämer]) ”

(Thieme-Becker XXIII [1929], 328).

Beyond all this in the case here of great relevance in regard of both family and contemporary history finally the thematic reference to the historically deeply rooted

Silesian family of immediate counts von Promnitz as purchasers of the thoroughbred “Tiger”.

Since 1542 in the possession of the dominion Pless in the administrative district Oppeln with ancestral seats at Sorau & Pless, the family brought forth several important members of greater interest. Although the dominion passed to the house of Anhalt-Koethen already 1765 (the family became extinct 1785), the “hunting lodge Promnitz” survived the centuries to this day and served Emperor William II in autumn 1913, when he killed the famous 26-pointer September 12, both as place of work and refuge for stalking.

During World War I temporarily imperial headquarters ,

“ three decisions of far-reaching consequence were made at Pless ,

“ that is the relief of Erich v. Falkenhayn by legendary Field Marshal General Paul v. Hindenburg as chief of the general staff and at the same time the appointment of General Erich Ludendorff to First Quartermaster General. Then to be mentioned furthermore the decision to create a Polish state and finally

the declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare ,

resulting in the declaration of war by the United States

on the German Reich ”

(Andreas Gautschi in Gautschi and Rakow, Wilhelm II. und das Waidwerk. Bothel, Nimrod-Verlag F. Rakow, 2006, pp. 234 f. along with illustrations of Pless Castle & Park Pless and especially “His Majesty’s study in the Hunting Lodge Promnitz [Pless]”).

On Promnitz also see Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie XXVI (1888), pp. 663 f.; Magno, Histor. Beschreibung der Hoch=Reichs=Gräfflichen Promnitzischen Residenzstadt Sorau, Leipsic 1710; König, Biograph. Lexikon aller Helden und Militärpersonen, welche sich in preuß. Diensten berühmt gemacht haben, vol. III, Berlin 1790; Bülau, Geheime Geschichten und räthselhafte Menschen, vol. II, 2nd ed., Leipsic 1863.

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 will 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 impression 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 past decade
(catalog KUNSTREICH no. 102, pp. 198-201).

Finally to complement all facts above by a comparison of the valuations once and now as possible on the basis of the said map-plates proves to be both interesting and informative:

In 1630 Hondius-Janssonius paid said 100 guilders (in the Northern Netherlands of the 17th/18th centuries 20 stuivers came on one guilder and 16 pennies on a stuiver) for the engraving of each single map-plate in addition to the value of the raw materials and conditioning. Compared with this in 1670 the publisher’s price for Joan Blaeu’s 12 and 11-volume resp. Atlas Maior from the 1660s with its about 600 (sic!) maps – Le Grande Atlas as the most exciting atlas event of all times published in a total edition of just under 1000 copies – made in its standard edition in decorated vellum and colored in outline was only just 450 and 430 resp. guilders! Nevertheless inevitably meant only “for a small circle of customers … (for the) requirement of representation of rich merchants and shipowners”. For a normal daily earnings made in the thought span of time 1 guilder on the flat country of the west, in the south & east only between ½ & 1 guilder. For specialists a little more, for farm hands somewhat less. And in the cities about the double.

For the early 1970s Traudl Seifert, then head of the map division of the Bavarian State Library, figured for the Atlas Maior in the standard edition a shop price of about 150 thousand German marks. On a 1984 auction sale an 11-volume copy estimated irrespectively of 5 missing maps at 250 thousand was paid with totally 347,700 DM. A rise to 807.60% from the publishing on 300 years ago! Which on their part already date back one quarter of a century!

Analogously to this the 100 guilders costs for engraving per each plate in 1630 would have been multiplied about just the 807.6fold to 80760 DM and 41292 € resp. per 1984, one DM put roughly on a par with a guilder, freely granting this to be so. Yet, surely, but only, requiring alone skilled ability.

(Based on Koeman, as above; Traudl Seifert, Der Atlas major des Joan Blaeu, in Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel, Frankfort edition of February 25, 1975; and statistic sources.)

And so the most elitist frequently still is the best value .

Offer no. 16,232 / price on application