Rugendas’  Horsemen  Sketch

Georg Philipp Rugendas I, Three Horsemen

of  Terrifically  Tangible  Speed  of  Movement

from  “ the

Famous  Leipsic  Heinrich  Campe  Collection  of  Drawings ”

Rugendas I, Georg Philipp (1666 Augsburg 1742). Three horsemen. Two galloping, the left one walking. Pen drawing in black over pencil. Lower right inscribed with black pen in italics: G. P. R. 1703. 4¾ × 6¾ in (121 × 173 mm).


Heinrich Wilhelm Campe , Leipsic ,

his partition 1863 ,
with his oval blind stamp HWC lower left (Lugt 1391)

Pauline Brockhaus, Leipsic,
Luise Vieweg , Brunswick , as née Campe

Nagler, Monogramists, III, 279: “the italics one finds on drawings”. – On light drawing carton, hinged on large brown collection carton (17⅛ × 12¾ in [43.4 × 32.5 cm]) with white lining & wide stamped margin with German inscription “Collection Campe”, below “Georg Philipp Rugendas / Augsburg 27. XI 1666 – 19. V. 1742 / Pupil of I. Fischer (recte Fisches) / Famous Battle Painter.”, all in slightly paled white. – Predominantly in the white field feebly foxspotted, entirely disguised by the speed of the picture.

From  the  year  of  war  1703  as  so  decisive  for  Augsburg

within the Spanish War of Succession with especially its siege + occupation by the French-Bavarian troops (Dec. 15, 1703 – Aug. 16, 1704). “In the course of this siege Rugendas showed the courage and the intrepidity of the warrior; defying the dangers he dared to see from close what so far he only created from his imagination” (Nagler 1845 in the Künstler-Lexicon). Correspondingly storming ahead the gesture of the two galloppers, the left one furthermore with rifle.

This terrifically communicating speed of movement of the latters additionally increased by the comparably quiet outside left as antipole. Coming along absolutely unpretentiously this sketch, considered by Campe as worthy of his collection, reveals with a bang “the great draughtsman Rugendas” who must have been

“ tremendously  sure  of  his  ability

in  the  field  of  horse  drawing ”

so Gode Krämer in the 1998 Augsburg Rugendas catalog with regard to a plenty of detail studies in which “there never are horses under the riders” (pp. 27 ff.).

And Anke Ch. Held in her 1996 catalog raisonné of the paintings + selected drawings:

“ Movements  difficult  to  represent , like (as here) of horsemen in the assault are recorded with photographic exactness” (page 121).

Qualifications which fully confirm what a hundred years before had Wilhelm Schmidt summing up

“ without doubt a first-rate talent, for not to say, a genius. Doubtless, set under better conditions, like living in the Netherlands about 1650, an artist … who would have

surpassed  all  his  horse  and  battle  competitors ”

(Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie XXIX [1889], p. 600).

As already 1803 Meusel stated in his “Biography of the Battle Painter Georg Philipp Rugendas” his engravings were “a true dictionary for the horse draughtsman” (after Held, p. 126).

And for the immediate 18th century the drastic statement of the painter colleague Ferdinand Kobell from 1771 may stand, by which he differentiated the artistic Augsburg of the previous generation exemplarily:

“ only  a  pity  that  at  such  a  place

Ridinger – and  Rugendas  have  lived ”

(Décultot et al. [ed.], Joh. Gg. Wille, Correspondence, Tübingen 1999, p. 486).

Present  execution  in black pen over pencil of the standard of the earlier period : “Principally under the exact drawing in pen in black, later also brown ink there is an equally exact preparatory drawing in chalk, slightly beside the pen version …” (Krämer, op. cit., p. 32/II).

Georg Philipp Rugendas I, Three Horsemen (Campe Collection)
Sammlung Campe

To encounter this drawing finally with a Campe provenance reaching over generations is its acme in its own right. For the merchant and Bavarian consul general Heinrich Wilhelm Campe (1770-1862), born in Deensen on the Weser, is garnished by a family bevy of publishing, book trading, and pedagogic importance. Branched in Hamburg, Brunswick, and Nuremberg, censure-seasoned publishers of Heine and young German literature, participants at Theodor Körner’s funeral. And by two of his three daughters he wrote publishing history of the finest. They became Madame Brockhaus + Madame Vieweg.

And while the paintings of the collection were sold at auction in Dresden in May 1863 – a first collection of 470 paintings + 1300 drawings had to help overcome a financial bottleneck – the drawings were parted among the daughters. Of which the stock of the third daughter, Sophie, married to the physician Prof. Hasse, had the longest duration due to intensive continued collecting activity and was dissolved only in 1930 with the Ehlers Collection and by chance remains of the Vieweg part. Among which five works of the elder Georg Philipp Rugendas, but not the present one. Created from military experience it survived several more attacks of the same kind and

with  its  300  years  now  here  and  today  passes  the  market  once  more

with a meantime stay in the old “famous Leipsic Heinrich Campe collection of drawings”.

Offer no. 15,180 / price on application

“ I have received the copy of Schoenberg’s Harmonielehre … I am very pleased with it. Thank you very much for your help ”

(Mrs. C. C., March 7, 2003)