Johann Elias Ridinger, Gamba Player

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Gamba Player (Viola da gamba). The collector Bougi (or the big-bellied friend Nicolas Vleughels?) with hat with plume below raised rich drapery, playing a viole de gambe with 7 chords and 7 ribs. Three quarter figure, sitting frontally to the left, the bowing right laid upon brickwork while to the right the balustrade of a terrace follows, opening the vista of for their part significantly seven cypresses. From their center a fountain shoots up. Mezzotint based on a detail by Antoine Watteau (Valenciennes 1684 – Nogent-sur-Marne 1721). After 1734. Inscribed: I. El. Ridinger excud. A. V. 19⅛ × 13⅞ in (48.5 × 35.1 cm).

Schwarz 1460 + plate II, XIX (erroneously as “The Cellist”).

Not  in  Thienemann (1856) + Stillfried (1876) and with the exception of Baron Gutmann (Schwarz, 1910) here not provable elsewhere. At which the identity of the copies of the collections Reich auf Biehla 317 ( “Very rare”, 1894 ! ) + Hamminger 1890 ( “Extremely rare sheet”, 1895 ! ) must remain undecided in the absence of a detailed description.

To be found at best (so with Rosenthal 1940, correctly as viola, Counts Faber-Castell 1958 + K&F 1979) the very much simpler version Schwarz 1459, plate II, XVIII, concentrated exclusively on the player set into a frame with caption, whose features up to the ear are worked perceptibly slightly less expressive and detailed, and this quite analogously to hat and plume, but also to the button tape of the jacket.

Yet unknown to all though the reference to Watteau to whom the richer version here is inevitably closer. Preserved in just one copy (Saint-Omer), Ridinger borrowed the sujet from Watteau’s “Bucolic Concert”, so the title of the reverse engraving Benoit II Audran worked for the “Recueil Jullienne” in 1734, which should have served Ridinger, just as other sheets of the “Recueil”, as model, not without having restored the correct direction for his purpose: M. Bougi bows with his right!

Assumed for 1716/17 Watteau’s painting – see its Audran representations in the Watteau Catalogue Berlin, 1984, pp. 33, 156, 351 and, as detail of Bougi, 551 – assembles in front of a park scenery with cypresses a party making music and singing with the gamba player shown in full figure as its centre. That this is the collector Bougi from Watteau’s circle of friends was handed down by the art dealer Mariette of whom by the way it was contested if he himself was also acquainted with Watteau. But in regard of Bougi there is uncertainty, too, as there are three possible. Contrary to this the Brunswick exhibition catalog (2005) reminds of the lineaments of the big-bellied friend Nicolas Vleughels.

The exceptionally rare almost unique sheet in the marvelous copy in regard of printing and conservation of a cultivated collection of perfectly bright chiaroscuro in all parts.

Mounted by old at the corners on especially wide-margined buff laid paper which is slightly browned at three outer margins. – At top with tiny paper margin throughout, otherwise both with such one as trimmed to platemark. In the left knee quite minimal trace of scratching.

Offer no. 28,403 / price on application