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A  Thematical  Initial  Spark

Acted  as  a  Model  for  the  “Blue  Rider”  Franz  Marc

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Weasels. Two in front of underwood and rock scenery, one coming from behind a stone, the other on top of that. Etching with engraving. (1740.) Inscribed: J. E. R. f., otherwise in German as before. 19.1 x 15.6 cm.

Sheet 89 (Thienemann + Schwarz 479) of the instructive set Design of Several Animals, How such are drawn from Life after their Different Kinds, Actions and Passions ( “These plates are much wanted and frequently copied”, Th. 1856).

But  thematically  set  in  context  here  for  the  first  time

to  Franz  Marc’s  painting  “Playing  Weasels”

of 1911, Hoberg-Jansen 144 with illustration.

As inspired by Ridinger known hitherto only Marc’s woodcut “Riding School after Ridinger” of 1913 (Lankheit 839) as detail interpretation of the background figure of the mounted rider of the third sheet, Th. 608, of the 1722 Riding School annotated by literature with

“ Illuminating that Marc with his quite intimate knowledge of art history

turns to just these masters of the presentation of the horse

(Delacroix and Ridinger)

of the 19th and 18th centuries resp. as models ”

(Christian von Holst, Franz Marc – Pferde, 2003, pp. 166 ff. within [‘… the Hoofbeats of my Horses’]).

For already his painting “Playing Weasels” from 1911, preceded 1909/10 by the lithograph of the same name, betrays the knowledge of several Ridinger coppers from entirely different sets. Marc shows two weasels, of which the one in the tree, bowed over a bough, looks down upon the one sitting in raised attitude on the ground. The trees besides of an eccentricity which he uses in this ostensible density in the painted œuvre only in the two “Acts below Trees”, H.-J. 143, of the same year. For the thematic initial spark the work here stands with the two playing ones, too, yet both on the ground and in an utterly different context. The latter Marc split up. And took the attitude of the two animals from sheet 86 of the set, the two pine martens Th. 476 (additionally available here in fine later coloring and in the companion piece with the two beech martens Th. 475). The young one of which hangs across a bough of equally low height as with Marc and looks down at the mother standing on the hind paws against the trunk luring with a captured bird. “Playing Squirrels” as sheet 88 (Th. 478) shows the same situation, only with the difference of a further one in the tree, too, but keeping a little aloof and not involved in the play. Yet the bizarre tree – and as such also Sälzle characterizes it expressly in the 1980 facsimile edition of the preparatory drawings for the following suite – as rather rarer for Ridinger, too, he took from sheet 19 of the concurrent suite of the “Representation of the Fair Game with the Respective Tracks and Traces”, the “Trace of a Marten / Trace of the Weasel” (Th. 181) with the same attitude of the marten in the tree and the, however, neutrally shown weasel on the ground.

Thus Marc designed his “Playing Weasels” just so by means of divers Ridinger references as the latter on his part composed his “Amusement of the Shepherds” after Watteau, Th.-Stillfried 1397, from four models of the Frenchman. That finally also the more typical trees of Ridinger’s were not unfamiliar to Marc, the right group of trees of his painterly forest interior “The Würm at Pipping” from 1902/03, H.-J. 15 with ills., demonstrates. But also the par force scenery on the watercolor “Ried Castle” from 1914 – Holst, ills. 11, p. 29 – stands for a further example of Marc’s occupation with Ridinger,

which  in  this  plurality  has  been  missed  till  now .

Ref. no. 14,999 / in stock – not catalogued / request description & offer