Following for the Course of the Year Dresden’s Question

“ What is BEAUTIFUL ? ”

As theme of the big special exhibition of the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum at the Lingnerplatz March 27, 2010 – January 2, 2011 for whose catalog volume niemeyer’s could provide the illustrations for Hogarth’s Analysis of Beauty.

niemeyer’s, always right in the midst , takes part on his stage , his way . And presents here as his current contribution

a  Ridinger  Rarity  of  the

photographic  early  period  145  years  ago

The  Youthful  Photography

is  Enthusiastic  about  Ridinger

Johann Laifle, Ridinger-Album
and  lets  Johann  Laifle
by  present

earliest (?)  work  group

present  quite  nonchalantly

two  rarest  additions

to  the  Wondrous
by  documenting  Th. 1299 & red-hot  1325 .
His  album  might  be

the  earliest

Ridinger  photographicum

at  all .
With  50
albumen  prints  rolled  on  cardboard
Johann Laifle, Ridinger Album (Title)
in  their  facet  richness
of  splendid  chiaroscuro

(6½-6¾ × 5⅛-5¼ in [16.4-17.2 × 12.9-13.3 cm] at 12⅛ × 9⅝ in [30.7 × 24.5 cm] plate size), each with number, publishing house & “(Photographed by J. Laifle)” on the mount. Large 4to (12⅝ × 10¼ in [32 × 26 cm]). 3 ll. title, foreword & contents.

Contrary  to  photo  papers  coated  with  starch

and  thereby  producing  a  dull  image  effect

the  publisher  Coppenrath  used

as  Ridinger  collector

already  here

papers  coated  with  albumen  (white  of  egg)

« of  high  gloss … (as)  now  preferred ,

for  it  reproduces  the  finest  details »

(Meyers Konversations-Lexicon, 4th ed., XIII [1889], page 17)

Stamped in German in brown on inner front cover

Ruby red cow-hide with 4 lined ornamental raised bands, spread over lines on the covers, rich title stamp on the front and large ligated RS monogram as brand of the Red Series here as centerpiece on the back cover, black back-plates – all gilt tooled – , Chromolux inner covers & fly-leaves stamped in brown as well as again gilt red series and ridinger handlung niemeyer resp. at the lower edge of inner covers & JayAitchDesign on the back cover’s lower edge in uniform half leather slipcase, the black Efalin paper covers of which bearing the gilt Ridinger stag brand here.

Earliest (?)  Ridinger  photographicum

in  showcase  copy  having  no  equal

and  where  the  bibliographic  literature  only  knows  the  1st  issue

here  then  the  complete  set

in  additionally  obviously  first  state . For different from the title to the likewise complete copy of the Princely Fürstenberg Library traded here previously into Rhenish collection the title here only reads “Regensburg. / Alfred Coppenrath. / 1865.” , not, however, as on the former “Regensburg. 1865. / Alfred Coppenrath. / München. / Hermann Manz.”. The now present title to the complete work in such a way corresponding with the one to the 1st issue, see below. As then only the latter was present for comparison it was assumed that with respect to the costliness of the venture Coppenrath had to look for a co-producer already soon after publication of the 1st issue. What now proves as false estimate and rather  documents  two  general  states . However, corresponding the imprint at the end “Druck von G. J. Manz in Regensburg”.

Johann Laifle, Ridinger-Album

The set reproduces 4 sheets of the Incidents at the Hunt and by 44 sheets the red deer core of the Representation of the Most Wondrous Stags and other Animals, only to finally let go with

2  most  precious  additions  to  the  Wondrous

as dots on the i,

by  documenting  Th. 1299  and  red-hot  1325

(by way of appendix page 289 and page 2 of the 2nd separate appendix of only 1861/62 resp.), commented by Thienemann as

“ For  the  similarity  of  the  two  plates

Johann Elias Ridinger, Th. 1325Johann Elias Ridinger, Th. 255

Th. 1325 & Th. 255

and  the  extraordinary  rarity  of the one described now (1325)

one might get to the assumption that Ridinger

has  destroyed  the  engraving  after  few  impressions ”


“ … from these fine drawings an engraving (Th. 1299) has been done by our master, which  seems  to  have  survived  in  a  few  copies  only … (The sheet) seems to be meant by Ridinger for the set of the hundred sheets”.

What appears quite simple from these annotations actually is quite complex. So first

version  1325  deviating  quite  decidedly  from  255

proves  to  be  the  real  original  version

of the motif. For its inscription on the left still refers to the original creator: “(Drawn from Joh. Ernst Wagner Princely Gun Cocker there” and Ridinger himself inscribes on the right only with “Joh. Elias Ridinger sculps. Aug. Vindel.” (from Schwarz 1325).

On Th. 255 there the Wagner reference is not there (anymore) and Ridinger (now also) assumes, again on the right, the privilege of the draughtsman for himself by inscribing “Joh. El. Ridinger del. sculpsit. et excud. A. V.”. What seems plausible as the representations composed in reverse to each other are linked only by the antler and the mountain fortress Hohenneufen. While besides both still have in common the little forest situated before the latter, so 255 already misses the steeple with its vane projecting beyond it, however, foremost the charming accessory of a grazing deer together with attentively listening stag at the edge of the wood. In the central message, however, the stag of 1325 stands presidentially square to the right beside a mighty oak tree on the left, while in 255 he walks light-footedly, coming from light deciduous wood, to the left and just looks to the right. Thereby the captions of the shooting procedure only varied in their arrangement.

Since Laifle has photographed both etchings (plates 40 & 50, the latter of which, 1325, from a discharge print before the caption and the name Hohen Neuffen engraved according to Th. in the baronial Dalberg collection on Datschitz in Moravia) these differences are easily found out.

The preparatory drawing to 1325 in the Ridinger division of Weigel’s catalog of bequeathed drawings of 1869 per lot 129. If this is identical with a corresponding one on the market in the late 1970s has to remain an open question. With the latter the missing of the Wagner reference is – in analogy to the copper – conspicuous. This also not mentioned in the entry at Weigel, but the cataloging then generally is distinctly far from today’s standards for cataloging.

If Thienemann supposes Ridinger might have had destroyed the plate of 1325, Coppenrath considers it – in analogy to the plate to 1299, see below – rather probable that he let the Duke of Wurttemberg have this and in addition points out a further drawing for this (Weigel, op. cit., no. 596), which shows the stag in the rest and is found in Thienemann [in the original edition of 1856] as plate 4 (at p. 97) of the engraved reproductions, without him having noticed its belonging to 255/1325. – As belonging to Th. 255 a pen drawing “Stag with Monstrous Antler in Fine Landscape” figured 1900 in Helbing’s Ridinger catalog (cat. XXXIV) per item 1553.

What  now  concerns

the  “46”  point  stag  of  Th. 1299

(Coppenrath II, 1604), so this is first after most benevolent counting here at best a false 40 point stag of 20 : 10 points as missed by Thienemann, Coppenrath, Schwarz, Sälzle, and Schwerdt, whose copy of the Wondrous the sheet was bound between.

Introducing to 1299 Thienemann then refers back to his pos. 166, the stag of sheet 4 of the Representation of the Fair Game with the large traces, and two preparatory drawings to this, namely “first the outline in red chalk, the other time finely executed in ink”. The latter one might be plate VII in Sälzle (Corpus of the Drawings to the Fair Game). But this corresponds with the copper 1299 and has nothing to do with sheet 4 of the Fair Game in respect of antler and landscape (in reverse and with changed fence plate X in Sälzle), however, it was not intended for the transfer into copper, since being in the same direction as the engraving and also without marks of transfer. That the explanations to both plates are confounded with each other at Sälzle complicates the disentanglement additionally.

The tread seal of Th. 1299 given in outline only with the inscription “(The Trace of the Stag)” suggests that Ridinger originally had intended the sheet for the set of the Fair Game, but then redevoted it by caption à la Wondrous, added even by 8 lines each on the details of the stag, into which finally it was not incorporated either.

According to Coppenrath the copper-printing-plate to 1299, coat & antler of the stag along with an oil portraying this, tracked by a hound, in full flight, in Coburg; a proof before the letter, inserted by Ridinger by hand, then in the collection of Baron von Dalberg as above.

Laifle’s  photograph  of  Th.1299

– plate  2 –

Johann Elias Ridinger, Th. 1299

in  such  a  manner  of  high  documentary  value

The 48 other plates regarding Thienemann

243, 244, 245 – 247 (the 66 point stag in Moritzburg/Dresden)248249, 250, 251 – 253 – 255/57 – 260 – 262 – 263 – 264 – 267 – 277 – 292 – 294 – 297 – 299 – 301 – 304 – 305 – 313/14 – 318 – 320/21 – 323 – 325 – 326 – 327 – 329330332 – 335/40 (339: “in the background … Kranichstein Castle near Darmstadt”; Martin Elias Ridinger’s original printing-plate after Georg Adam Eger, court hunting painter of the famous Nimrod landgrave Louis VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt, of 1767/68 along with further more to these available here) – 342 – 350 – 353 – 371 – 373 .

The almost untracability of said two Thienemann additions proclaimed ex cathedra corresponds to

the  superb  rarity

of  a  complete  copy , as  here ,

of  Laifle’s  photographic  “Ridinger  Album”

including just both of these motifs.

For the album was already missing 1889/90 at Coppenrath’s own sale with its rich Ridinger stock! As in such a manner also not known to bibliographies. For in the predecessors to the German National Bibliography as also the modern “Union Catalog of German Language Publications 1700-1910”, vol. 117, only the 1st issue is listed, so that we furnished this torso originally with an “All published”, too. However, negative report also in all great Ridinger collections & offers archived here. The editions published by Coppenrath and Coppenrath/Manz resp. therefore cannot be considered small enough.

« The  first  photographs

on  albumen  paper

were  that  thin

that  one  had  to  glue  them

onto  cardboard »

(Danuta Thiel-Melerski 2006)

Stamped in German in brown on fly-leaf

But even still in the ’90s of the century as the late period of this reproduction-technically revolutionary and now yet even further refined invention, high-quality photographic anthologies, as for instance the ones by Braun, necessitated a price which had art historians lament, they threatened “to degenerate into a privilege” by downright subjecting scholars and less well-off connoisseurs to a “kind of forced tax” contrary to “private circles which are in the comfortable position to make not quite insignificant sacrifices to their esthetic needs” (quoted from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of Aug. 22, 2001). But no less than the great Bode in Berlin had settled “after a long trial phase, during which he examined the supreme achievements of both techniques (the re-engravings by artists favored by him at first and just photography) distinctly for photography”.

Top-notch  evidence

the contents by reference to their, now and then, material copies, paintings (sic!) & printing plates as well as, frequently, preparatory drawings & proofs, any errors. Thereby

exorbitant  the  report

that there is as “an extremely interesting try-out by Ridinger” a one-plate color-print to Th. 245 from the late ’30s besides a further such technical experiment with a horse in the Dalberg Collection. This certainly connected with his co-operation as (at least) draughtsman and co-publisher of Weinmann’s Phytologia (1735/7-1745) as the first botanical use of Johann Teyler’s (1648 – after 1698/99, probably 1712) one-plate color method, which, however, in the end was clearly more retrograde and far more expensive than the multi-plate color-print invented by Le Blond about 1710, made usable, however, only by English mezzotint engravers about 1720 and then introduced in Germany by Ridinger only little later at about 1725 with a stag hunt (only known copy of this for Ridinger only example at Schwerdt III, 132 with ills.) as for literature supposedly the first one.

Very fascinating ultimately also Kobell’s co-operation in this

supposedly  earliest  Ridinger  photographicum

(the first Rhine book for instance with also just merely 14 photographs beside moreover conventional numerous wood engravings was published at Murray in London in 1868 only).

« … and  soon  (Ridinger)  obtained ,

yet  more

by  own  reflection  and  observation

than  by  the  mentioned  teachers ,

a  distinctive  talent

in  the  drawing  and  painting

of  horses  and  fair  game … »

Ferdinand von Kobell in his foreword

For already in 1842 he had made his technical mark by his “galvanography, a method to reproduce in print painted washed pictures by galvanic copper-plates”. Publishing also mineralogically, otherwise his hunting publications, at the top his Wildanger, made him known.

To Coppenrath’s present forerunner the competition responded with the following stragglers :

“Representation of some Fair and Killing Animals” in 84 (so GV, yet recte rather: 24) photos in portrait 4to, Augsburg 1867 (Berlin, Sandrog & Co.) & “Hunting Album. Deer Abnormities, interesting Hunts and Rare Fair Game photographed by B. Kliemeck (series 1, 64 ll.) & C. Schauer Successor” (series 2) in 18 issues of 4 (1-17 = 68) and 2 (18) (GV: 16 issues, of which were published [only] 1-12 of 4 ll. each [= 48, hence the Laifle edition here should not only be the first, but also the most comprehensive one]) photos each resp. in 4to, Berlin, Lichtwerck, 1873/75.

As in such a manner recorded bibliographically these two sets rank also with regard to rarity below Coppenrath’s pioneer edition, nevertheless also they are missing in the inventories registered here.

Splendidly wide-margined, the plates bear the number of their respective issue in pencil by old hand lower left. A mostly only faint (fox) stainedness of the wide margins of the mount to be noted throughout again and again remaining marginal as barely spoiling. To the opinion of a restorer, however, the significant staining of the white back of plate 28 also affecting the margins of the subject side of plate 29 – here also the photo itself in its caption barely perceptible, yet minimally stained – should result from a mishap during the mounting.

And so presenting then here and today just plain contentwise

the  grand  occasion  which .

For the Ridinger collection as such just as only (!) as image documentation under artistic as zoological-hunting aspect, accompanied by two exorbitant additions as truffles for the Wondrous and for the œuvre in general. And ultimately for a

rare  desideratum  from  the  early  period  of  photography

as the exacting young collecting field sui generis becoming more and more dominating. At which not least the master himself as attracted pioneerlike by all technically new of his profession – it should be reminded of his said merits about color printing – would have had his pleasure in. As no less at the outward

adequate  splendid

Johann Laifle, Ridinger Album

ne  plus  ultra

Offer no. 15,609 / price on application

„ im Internet habe ich in Ihrem Katalog das vorgenannte Werkverzeichnis … gefunden …

Mit Interesse habe ich auch Ihren offenen Brief an die Herausgeber der Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung vom 24.7.2003 gelesen, zumal ich (bei früherer Gelegenheit) … mir … von der Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung den Vorwurf des ‚Kulturglobalisten‘ gefallen lassen mußte … “

(Herr A. G., 8. Dezember 2003)