The  Master’s  “ Painterly ” –

Unique  Drawings  of  Highest  Quality

Here  a  Capital  One  from  the  Early  Days

Ridinger, Johann Elias (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).

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

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

splendid  work  as  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.

By what variety Ridinger prepared his plates is proven beside the works for Th. 41 by e. g. the four variants known here for the upright smaller version of the Prince’s Hunting Pleasure’s wolf pit – Th. 18 – which irrespective of apparently equal design differ in their content. Three of these dated 1728, two of which, among which one traded here, additionally with “January”.

Present sheet belonging to the distinguished

Group  of  the  Painterlies

running, now inscribed, then remained unmarked, through the œuvre since the early 1720s in nevertheless obviously only most scarce examples representing like the watercolors and gouaches

a  group  of  drawn  rarissima  on  their  own ,


“ Pen  drawing(s)  with  ink  and  sepia  (recte bistre)

brought  to  effect  masterly ”

so F. A. C. Prestel on lot 71 of the 1879 Catalog of Marschall von Bieberstein’s Collection of Drawings with its rich Ridinger passages combined in 59 lots, among them the one mentioned from 1743 to the 11th Fable [Th. 775] as the one and only of this combination.

The one here originates from that high-carat Westphalian collection dissolved peu à peu in the 1970s and bringing back onto the market beside sketches and proofs several magnificent unique drawings, amongst a block of 9 drawings for Ways to trap the Wild Animals + Princes’ Hunting Pleasure – three of which passed into the former Swiss international splendid collection – whose extraordinary charm is defined by their wash.  The  technique  the  master knew to win the whole plenty  of  painterly  light  effects  and  contrasting .

As for instance George Keyes notes on Samuel van Hoogstraten’s (1627-1678) lavished John the Baptist in Prison of the Rudolf Collection (Introduction to part I of the catalog, 1977, regarding part II, 95 of the same year):

“ (He) applies washes with a virtuosity and bravura

which  add  a  wonderful  aura  to  the  subject .”

Reminding not least of Ernst Welisch (1901) according to whom Ridinger indisputably has been “the most important Augsburg landscapist of this time”. And this “even though he is mostly known as animal painter”.

Offer no. 15,450 / price on application

„ Habe heute Ihre Sendung dankend erhalten. Freue mich schon, das Buch meinem Mann … zu Weihnachten zu schenken. Liebe Grüße aus … am Dachstein “

(Frau K. G., 12. September 2007)


The  Cream  of  the  Day