Johann Elias Ridinger, The Lady with the Mask

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Lady with the Mask. Three-quarter figure sitting to the right at a pillar, the head bowed to the left, holding in her right, “a classic symbol”, a black mask. Mezzotint. Inscribed: I. El. Ridinger excud. A. V., otherwise as following. 19⅛ × 13¾ in (48.6 × 34.9 cm).

Schwarz 1458 + plate II, XVII; Silesian Ridinger Collection at Boerner XXXIX, 2053 (“Somewhat damaged, and spotted”, 1885); Counts Faber-Castell (1958) 154.

Not in Thienemann (1856) + Stillfried (1876), Weigel, Art Stock Catalogue, pts. I-XXVIII (1838/57; more than 1000 R.-sheets of the engraved/etched work), Coppenrath Collection (1889/90), R. collection at Wawra (1890; besides 234 drawings 600 prints), Reich auf Biehla Collection (1894; “Of all [R. collections on the market] since long time there is none standing comparison even approximately with the present one in respect of completeness and quality … especially the rarities and undescribed sheets present in great number”; 1266 sheet plus 470 duplicates + 20 drawings), R. catalogue Helbing (1900; 1554 nos.), R. list Rosenthal (1940; 444 nos.).

According to Schwarz “reverse copy after Coypel ‘Mad. de ** (Mouchy) en habit de Bal’, engraved [1746] by L. Surugue” (in that case supposedly more correctly in reverse after Surugue and thus again in the same direction as Coypel as the mask rests in the right hand). – Identical with Thieme-Becker’s (Charles-Antoine Coypel, 1694 Paris 1752, vol. VIII, p. 28/I) “‘Mme de Mombay’ (pastel, engraved by Surugue)”? Nagler (1848), Pierre Louis Surugue, Paris 1717 – 1771, no. 4 with the addition in parentheses “Mouchy” as taken over by Schwarz, nevertheless adding “Some believe the lady is Mme. de Pompadour”. Anyhow, so Thieme-Becker, “(Coypel) co-worked at the decorations of the palace at Versailles, the chambers of Maria Lesczynskas and Mad. de Pompadour”.

To the opinion here, however, the real origin, as it should have been realized by Ridinger, too, may be more complex and leading back to Antoine  Watteau  (Valenciennes 1684 – Nogent-sur-Marne 1721). And here to the “Coquettes” in Petersburg of about 1714/15 published shortly before 1731 in the Recueil Jullienne with calling in of “The Italian Comedy” in Berlin of about 1718 reproduced for the Recueil in 1734 (see G 29 + G 65 with [comparative] illustrations in the Watteau Exhibition Catalogue by Morgan Grasselli + Rosenberg of 1984/85).

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. – Three sides almost throughout with tiny margins, only on the left predominantly trimmed to platemark.

Offer no. 28,407 / price on application