Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767) + Georg Adam Eger (? 1727 Murrhardt 1808). Two etchings from Ridinger’s Par Force Hunt of the Stag in their plain image size printed on grounded sheet zinc, executed as oil paintings in the colors of Hesse-Darmstadt by Eger or his circle, probably partially with use of tempera. Supposedly 1764/68. 10¼ × 18⅝ in (26.2 × 47.2 cm). In green-bright gold frame.


(Fine Hunting Bag — Pictures of Hunting)

Dr. Hanns Simon Foundation Bitburg

January 13 – March 3, 2013


Catalog Book to the Exhibition

Pages 90-93 (double full-page color illustrations) + 149

Kölsch, Gg. Adam Eger … (Hunting Painter at the Court of Hesse-Darmstadt / Catalog of the Works in the Museum Hunting Seat Kranichstein), 2010; Thieme-Becker, Eger, X (1914), 369; Siebert, Kranichstein, (Hunting Seat of the Landgraves of Hesse-Darmstadt), 1969; Hofmann, (Guide through the Darmstadt Hunting Museum Kranichstein Castle), 1981; Michel, (Ancestors and Relatives of the Animal Painter and Engraver) Joh. Elias Ridinger in (Papers of the Bavarian State Association for Genealogical Research), vol. XV, 1987, 396-414.

Johann Elias Ridinger, The Relays Are Set Out by the Commander of the Hunt Johann Elias Ridinger, The Relays Are Set Out by the Commander of the Hunt

(The Relays are set out by the Commander of the Hunt)

Thienemann 53. – Sheet 5 of the set, at the same time title sheet of its second part. – “To keep order with this number of humans and animals … exact places have been assigned by the most noble leaders of the hunt where the relay horses, the different braces of dogs, together with their mounted leaders, should stop. Our sheet is filled with such troops partly stopping, partly moving ahead in divisions. The stewards are busy quite in front.”

Offer no. 28,968 / price on application

Johann Elias Ridinger, The Stag Turns to Bay in the Water, the Hounds are Ceased and He Receives the Coup de grâce Johann Elias Ridinger, The Stag Turns to Bay in the Water, the Hounds are Ceased and He Receives the Coup de grâce

(The Stag turns to Bay in the Water, the Hounds are ceased and He receives the Coup de Grâce)

Thienemann 61. – Sheet 13 of the set, at the same time title sheet of its fourth and final part. – “The whole party has assembled around the water.”

Offer no. 28,969 / price on application

Here  unequalled  unique  items

from  the  group  of  the  “ sheet-metal  paintings ”

at  the  court  in  Darmstadt

as  autonomous  paintings  of  most  beautiful  appeal

and  with  respect  to  the  hardly  ever  occurring  of  own  Ridinger  oil

singularly  charming  Ridinger  top  items

whose uniforms are “designed in the colors of the landgraves, later grand-dukes of Hesse-Darmstadt. Especially by Georg Adam Eger … there exist quite a number of hunting paintings which correspond almost down to details with your colors” (German Hunting and Fishery Museum).

Engaged 1748 at the court of Darmstadt as just 21-years-old for the superintendence of the painting of the legendary so-called Imperial Presentation Clock, he belonged beside the brothers Knaus as the mechanics 1750 to the train of four, who presented the showpiece in Vienna on occasion of the 5th anniversary of Emperor Franz I and the 10th of his spouse Maria Theresa as Queen of Hungary.

Yet irrespective of the esteem Louis showed towards him he was promoted besides just second court painter 1765 only. Yet even without title Gisela Siebert qualifies him, endorsing Count Hardenberg’s judging of 1918, as “most talented court hunt painter. Depictions of (particularly) the par force hunt and the Dianaburg … Only Adam Georg Eger becomes the true painter of the par force hunt in Kranichstein …  ”

The relation Ridinger-Eger seems to date back to a stay of the latter in Augsburg before 1748, from where he should have gone directly to Darmstadt through the intermediary of the Darmstadt court mechanic and clockmaker Ludwig Knaus. The latter stayed in Augsburg 1748 “to superintend there the production of the box of the (above) presentation clock from silver and tortoise-shell”. See on this Kölsch pp. 11/II & 26/II together with footnotes 4 & 78. But also Joseph Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt as from 1740-1768 prince bishop at Augsburg might, rather should have been instrumental in the later close relation of the Ridingers to the court in Darmstadt.

After Eger’s designs Martin Elias (Thieme-Becker erroneously “Joh. El.”) worked seven (Kölsch 25/I erroneously 5) engravings, that is Th. 318/319 (as the only ones of these with also reference to his father, “direxit et excud. Aug. Vind.”), 339, 340, 352, 373 & 1378. At which with regard to Darmstadt the matter not nearly rests. For inclusive of five sheets of the afore-mentioned group at least 13 works – Th. 292, 297, 299, 300, 305, 318, 319, 332, 339, 340, 342, 356, 1378 and by this most of those which can be attributed by name – are dedicated to Louis VIII and his reign, six of them worked entirely by Johann Elias alone and one jointly with Martin.

The discussion of this close contact is important for both the artistic as also the chronological classification of present sheet-metal paintings. For since microscopical examinations on the basis of picture Th. 61 in both the Regional Museum Bonn and the Municipal Art Collections Augsburg – repeated thanks for this to Mrs. Kalus and Mr. Beier – have revealed unobjectionably that the painting was not done on mounted impressions on paper, for which according to the kind information of the paper restorer of the Art Museum Bonn, Mrs. Büttner, sheet-zinc would not be suitable just for pure technical reasons, yet the plates show in every detail the entire image part of the etchings, they therefore must be, as known as quite possible, direct impressions from the original plates onto the grounding of the plate-zinc. This, however, inevitably requires the co-operation of the Ridingers, as then indeed given by the afore-mentioned close nexus.

The background of such a treatment beyond the daily scope is provided by the corresponding habits of Louis VIII and his proverbial inventiveness. Part of this then not least the sheet-metal painting for manifold purposes. To begin with it was meant to capture in picture and explanatory text oddnesses of the hunt itself, thus analogously to Ridinger’s engravings of the Wondrous Stags, Th. 242 ff., or the Special Events and Incidents at the Hunt, Th. 343 ff., at which it may be regarded as possible that this sort of depiction is based on mutual fructification. For both Ridinger sets correspond chronologically with the habits at Darmstadt. At which the latter also included in the painting the hunting setting as hunting lodges and the like as memories worth to be remembered. For Darmstadt this is documented not just at all, but by a very early model. That is that hunting sketchbook preserved in the palace museum there which recorded, first in loose sheets, such incidents since 1742 in verse and image and which was bound in 1751 :

“ They seem to have been frequently model for painted metal plates, too, intended to be mounted at the respective place in wood or field ”

(Siebert, op. cit., pp. 90 ff. and, in respect of the same for buildings, 82).

Yet not enough by this, for, so Hofmann pp. 8 f. and p. 13 resp.,

“ To many … relatives and his high-ranking friends, as the emperor in Vienna, too, he sent copies of the already mentioned (tinny) stag portraits (just as we send photographs today) to report what hunting luck Diana has blessed him with. ”

Ridinger, Sheet-metal Painting Parforce Hunt (back)
The zinc back

Coinciding with this environment present painting overs, executed likewise on plate-zinc, from Ridinger’s Par Force Hunt, which originally should have been done as complete set of all 16 stations and in every aspect correspond quite singularly with Louis’ predilections.

Shining  in  the  local  colors , dark  in  the  wood  parts ,

silvery  cool  in  the  treatment  of  the  sky

of Th. 53, the palette is apparently influenced by the etched design, which latter for instance does not intend the Darmstadt post horn of the saddlecloth. That the bow at the tricorne is held in blue instead of red here meets its counterpart in various color divergences of the Eger attribution of item 1 of the catalog raisonné, thus not only in the scope of the rejected works and copies (48 ff.). Besides the unsigned works of Eger and his assistants, so Wolfgang Weitz, co-founder of Stiftung Hessischer Jägerhof, largely not to be distinguished from each other. Gode Krämer, custos emeritus for paintings at the Augsburg Art Collections, draws the chronological scope as for the various aspects certainly too late from the late 18th to early 19th century. For as

center  piece  of  these

the  nexus  fostered  between  Eger  and  the  Ridingers

should be considered, at which of the latters both Johann Elias himself as partly by the works referring to Louis – here plate dates from already 1753, Th. 299 f. – and Martin Elias, deceased 1780, are possible as engravers of Eger’s designs. They concern the sets of the Wondrous Stags (1768) and the Special Events and Incidents at the Hunt (1779) finished/published posthumously by the sons (Johann Jacob’s decease 1784 would be an unreservedly supposed final chronological mark for the part of the Ridingers, but see below, too), among which with Th. 373 one of Hohenlohe of 1775, and the special position Th. 1378, both per Eger/Martin Elias. Since also the set of 1779 is based beside Eger completely or yet predominantly on drawings by Johann Elias, deceased 1767, the actual co-operation concerns the years before 1768, Th. 1378 included. Belonging to the complex of the Princely Persons mounted on Horseback, the latter shows Louis VIII who died mid-October 1768. With his passing away Eger’s vocation in Darmstadt came to an abrupt stop.

In their symbiosis of “mature art of engraving” (Wolf Stubbe, former director of the Hamburg print room in his Johann Elias Ridinger of 1966 on the Par Force Hunt set), sheet-metal  painting  under  Louis VIII, and the color delicacy of an Eger combined with Hesse-Darmstadt colors present sheet-metal paintings should indeed originate plausibly convincingly in the sphere of that “hunting nonsense which had become a habit during the reign of his father” (Meyer’s Konversations-Lexikon, 4th ed.), the remains of which the successor, Louis IX, especially attempted to purge and the remains of which Louis X endeavored to reestablish in their due rights. Just as then generally

“ (the) later successors (of Louis VIII have) preserved … these things in the 19th century with the inclination to collect obliged to their period. This way a plenty of hunting-historical news has come down to us, not of general kind, but

ordered  by  the  masters  themselves ,

whose  time , customs  and  practices  they  portray … ”

They are

“ mirror of a baroque zest for living for the exhibition of which the chased game is just the cause … This is the foil before which one has to see the numerous depictions of the par force hunt in Kranichstein. Also the fact that one has recorded it that frequently, that one kept court hunting painters for this purpose, is part of this courtly representation ”

(Siebert, op. cit., pp. 33 & 56 f.).

Of this spirit then also present plates. As at the same time

most  exquisite  Ridingeriana

as then Ridinger generally – so to speak as a further trace to the history of creation of the present ones – enjoyed greatest esteem at the court at Darmstadt.

The condition of the plates utterly fine. The certain granularity to the opinion of the concerned restorers either traces of oxidation of the plates or resulting from their roughening for better adhesion, yet not jeopardizing the painting. Also the varnish were healthy. In short ,

plates  to  seize  the  opportunity .

Plates  which  counter  the  almost  oilless  Ridinger  market

most  magnificently .

For already the just 50-year-old had “nevermore believed that (he) would take the brush once more” as he expressed by letter of June 29, 1748 towards Wille in Paris (Décultot, Espagne & Werner [ed.], Joh. Gg. Wille, [Correspondence], 1999, page 76), at the same time complaining that he could not yet evade to accept a corresponding renewed desire of Catherine the Great at Petersburg for four further paintings. For the ones presently there see Nikulin, The Hermitage Catalogue of Western European Painting XIV (1987), 284-287.

Further single plates from the Par Force Hunt
presently available here :

The Par Force Horses are led onto the Rendevous (Th. 51)