Johann Elias Ridinger, Africa

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Africa. Fight with the Majestic. A male lion has thrown down a white horse with its white rider and buried its teeth into the former’s belly, but is himself attacked with the arrow by an African with headgear, while the lioness, raised in anger, is hit in the chest by a white man’s spear. Once more behind a second African with headgear and an arrow in the raised right. Entangled into the shawl of the fallen hunter the lion baby. Mezzotint. Inscribed: Ioh. Elias Ridinger del. sc. et exc. A. V. / Africa. Africa. as well as quatrain in German-Latin parallel text. 17 × 21 in (43.2 × 53.3 cm).

Provenance: Ernst von Feder, with his stamp v. FEDER, Lugt 923, on the back.

Thienemann + Schwarz 1133. – Sheet 3 of the extremely rare 4-sheet set of the continents symbolized in hunting scenes complete market copies provable here only with the copy of the Silesian Ridinger Collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885, nos. 1979-1892), presumably identical with the one of the Reich auf Biehla Collection (1894, no. 218, “Of greatest rareness”) and the one in the 93rd Tenner sale (1972, no. 4335).

As a whole just as in individual sheets the set was missing in Coppenrath’s comprehensive stock (1889/90) , in Helbing’s mammoth offer of 1900 (cat. XXXIV), the Schwerdt Collection (1928/35) , Rosenthal’s Ridinger offer of 1940 (list 126, “Etchings and Mezzotints”), while the sales Schöller (1921, only “with tiny margin”) + Counts Faber-Castell (1958, “mounted”) could only present Asia and America resp., while Europe was traded here in 1980 (“lower margin trimmed to platemark”) into a Palatinate collection.

Margins all around 1.6 (above) to 2.5 cm wide complement the copy of practically marvelous, only partially unessentially rubbed print quality of absolutely perfect chiaroscuro as that worth mentioning for the old mezzotints and what makes them that precious. As already in 1675 the expert von Sandrart numbered “clean prints” of the velvety mezzotint manner at only c. “50 or 60” (!). “Soon after (the picture) grinds off for it does not go deep into the copper.” – Smoothed centerfold as usual. Acid-freely settled (most) minimal tears in the white margin below (2) and left. The margin itself evenly weakly browned. Little thin paper spot in the nostrils of the left margin horse.

The collection of the legal scholar von Feder (Wertheim/Main 1824 – Karlsruhe 1904, “très bon”) distinguished itself by both connoisseurship and beside paintings and the library its priorities prints + drawings. Highlights among the latter “ses beaux dessins de Dürer … Lippmann … nos 432-438”, adequately among the former dedicated to the 15th to 18th centuries, however, “très rares premières gravures en manière noire”.

Offer no. 14,802 / price on application