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Johann Elias Ridinger, Memento Mori

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Memento Mori. On the bible lying on the table death’s-head with several teeth missing. To its right vase with defoliating bouquet, left, as rarer, tray with soap-bubbles on which a four-fingered jagged bar with attached seal rests as well as burned down candle/light of life, on its stand a pair of candle scissors, behind it hour-glass and above curtain with large jagged tear-out for the curtain of life, but since the middle ages also symbol of the mysterious whose possibly religious solace is, however, already countered by the hole. Peeping out from under the bible and projecting beyond the edge of the table a blank sheet of paper with tear and dog’s ear. Mezzotint. Inscribed: Ioh. Elias Ridinger inv. et exc. Aug. Vind., otherwise as above and following. 20¼ × 16½ in (51.6 × 42 cm).

Provenance: Counts Faber-Castell; their Ridinger sale 1958 with its lot no. 145 on the underlay carton; Radulf Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1922-2004).

Stillfried (3rd appendix to Thienemann, 1876) + Schwarz (Gutmann Collection, 1910) 1426, obviously both III (of III); Reich auf Biehla 295 ( “Extremely rare”, 1894 ! Without state detail); Rosenthal, Ridinger list 126 (1940), 434 (without margin, supposedly ditto); Faber-Castell 145, state I (of III) just as the copy of the National Print Room Munich (1963:1644); Wend, Ergänzungen zu den Œuvreverzeichnissen der Druckgrafik, I/1, 289 (1975, quoting Stillfried’s description); Ridinger Catalog Kielce (1997), 172, II (of III) with ills.; Niemeyer, (The Vanitas Symbolism with Johann Elias Ridinger) in Wunderlich (ed.), L’Art Macabre 2, 2001, illustration p. 103 (state III).

Not in Thienemann (1856) , Weigel, Art Stock Catalog, pts. I-XXVIII (1838/57) , Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885) , Coppenrath Collection (1889 f.) , Hamminger Collection (1895) , Helbing XXXIV (Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger), 1554 items; 1900).

With caption in Latin-German: “Quid q(uid) agis, prudenter agas et respice finem, Sir. 7.c. / What you do think of the end, then you will never ever do evil. (Sir. 7th chap.)”

The  first  state  of Ridinger’s very own MEMENTO MORI worked in the manner of the Dutch vanitates as one of the most interesting rarities in Ridinger’s œuvre, whose different states have not yet been recorded by literature present here.

Deep-brown impression of finest plasticity on buff laid paper with watermark WANGEN and separate IV as both standing for contemporary impressions. With laterally 8-14 mm, top 17 mm margin, below trimmed with partial minor cut of the signature, but loss of the “Sir. 7. Cap.” as final line of the caption. Small tears backed by old in the free field outer left of the toned-fine lower text margin with still minimal extending into the closure of the table edge just as within the two quoted lines with near-loss of the letters “uid” in the second “quid” of the first and minimal touching of the letters “as” in the “Was” of the second line. In the picture itself isolated tiny(est) injuries done by old, optically like a hair crack four of these in the curtain upper left and one in the skull’s right eye, pinhead-like three further ones at the rim of the skull, on the bible, in the curtain. One further tiny injury in the white edge of the table lower right barely perceptible, from the front not at all a few untreated pinhead-small little holes just as also the not unusual smoothed centerfold still visible in the skull only. Of two backed tiny tears in the white right margin one reaching 7 mm into the picture filling. A slight touch of browning down from the foot of the candle-stick optically almost eliminated by the brown of the ink. Generally thus somewhat age-marked, but not only with regard to the additional rarity as first state and the with respect to Ridinger important provenance through and through worth acquisition as an outstanding example from the group of the vanitas works and dances macabres.

Offer no. 14,856 / price on application