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In the Year of the Monkey

Ridinger, Guenons

Ridinger’s
Colored Monkey Gallery

For the Chinese the Monkey King Sūn Wùkōng is a rebel recognizing no authority. Besides agile, smart, flexible, but also ambitious and successful:

so everything seems possible in the Year of the Monkey .

However, since the Monkey King as one of the companions of the monk Xuánzàng and the real protagonist of Wú Chéng’ēn’s novel Journey to the West only came to India to receive Buddha’s teachings there, the Ridingers had to content themselves in their presentations for the unnumbered Colored Animal Kingdom created since 1754 and concluded finally posthumously not before 1773 (“Complete copies are next to untraceable”, so Weigel, Art Cat., part XXVIII, Ridinger Appendix 63a as merely 120-sheet torso, 1857 ! , but also just individual plates quite rarely on the market only, at niemeyer’s presently nevertheless the one as the others):

“ Since one finds such a great number of variations with the monkey race, the number of which could not even be determined accurately enough by the naturalists, that we would have to accumulate the presentations of the same quite immensely; so we will present here to the eye only those species which were to be seen here at Augsburg from time to time, and then add some of which we have received true and reliable drawings by foreign good friends. We hope to satisfy in this the connoisseurs amply, too,

as they will behold here the rarest species. ”

However, irrespective of this limitation, the Ridingers proved flexible nonetheless. For already father Johann Elias had presented a set of monkeys in ten plates etched exclusively by himself, which is available here, too.

Irrespective of similarities in content and composition and adoptions, except for the Lion Guenon modified only in accessories & text pictorially not identical with the plates from the Colored Animal Kingdom presented here, the generally uncolored first edition was printed on varyingly better paper, but not yet that decent Dutch quality paper ultimately used for the colored sets. Only the largely unknown second edition documented colored as utmost rarity by a copy traded here in 1972.

« The monkey

as the animal most similar to man

plays an important rôle in art history since antiquity.

As figura diaboli ,

as symbol of sin and the fall of man ,

as fool , as figure of vanity

he appears in most varied context …

(A)lso the usual religious reference

in the interpretation of the monkey

as man

mixed up in his passion for profane things … »

Hella Robels, Frans Snyders, Munich 1989, p. 43

That ambition paired with curiosity and feistiness not necessarily leads to success, too, Ridinger had already demonstrated 1744 in his Instructive Fables from the Animal Kingdom:

On account of a varied basket of fruits the monkey posing as a king forgets beside crown & scepter also any dignity and exposes himself to “great ridicule”. For Splendor and Grandeur makes no one brighter.

Incidentally also the title vignette to the fables shows a monkey with glasses and plume hat, holding in his hands pencil and portfolio. Indeed, “Monkeys have – so Wolfgang Stechow 1977 in respect of Pieter Bruegel – always fascinated artists”.

Ridinger, Gibbon/Coaita/Guenon

1. Gibon , Monkey going errected with long arms or called Wood Man. / 2. Coaita, the slim and especially long tailed black Sapajous with 4. Finger. / 3. Along with another small Species of Guenon. Colored etching with engraving by Martin Elias Ridinger (1731 Augsburg 1780). Inscribed: SIMIA SATYRUS VEL HOME SILVESTRIS. COAITA SIMIA NIGRA CAUDATA. / in German as above / Gibbon ou l’homme sauvage. Signe araignée genant, avec une petite guenon. / M. El. Ridinger ex: et scp. 12⅜ × 8½ in (31.3 × 21.5 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1084. – IN  THE  RIDINGERS’  ORIGINAL  COLORING  from the unnumbered Colored Animal Kingdom created since 1754 and concluded finally posthumously not before 1773 (“Complete copies are next to untraceable”, so Weigel, Art Cat., part XXVIII, Ridinger Appendix 63a as merely 120-sheet torso, 1857 ! , but also just individual plates quite rarely on the market only, at niemeyer’s presently nevertheless the one as the others). – Remaining uncolored contrary to the prospectus, a second edition from the plates shortened even under loss of animals and with modified titling and the Ridinger inscription removed, yet now numbered, was published by Engelbrecht/Herzberg in Augsburg 1824/25.

“ An eminent species of these creatures is the Gibbon or Wood Man. They have a great similarity with man, yet particularly with the negroes … if one attempts to catch them alive, they are able to break free even from ten men, whereas they frequently kill, as they go out in whole bunches for their roamings, the negroes in the woods. If they occasionally, as it is said, catch and abduct men, yet afterwards honor them and supply them with necessary food, that we leave fairly undecided … we also have represented a Sapajour … Their tail they also know to use very well as frequently several hang to each other by the tails and if in this manner they make quite a chain swing so long till the first reaches a branch to which he then clings and helps his comrades, so that in this manner they cross over from one tree to another ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 15 f., enclosed in copy). – Thienemann in addition:

“ Unfortunately much has to be corrected here. 1. is much to manlike and a product of imagination, which represents neither the orang-outang nor the gibbon. / 2. is a Spider Monkey … which swings on a rope, but was omitted completely in the new edition (from 1824/25). / 3. is indeed a prosimian, Lemur, and may well be the Mongoose Lemur or the Ring Eye. ”

Watermarked Strasbourg fleur-de-lis above arms + C & I Honig (type Heawood 64/Churchill 428) as that sturdy Dutch quality paper Ridinger used in line with his preamble to the Principal Colors of Horses

“on account of the fine illumination” for the colored works

“as for this purpose it is the most decent and best”. – Margins on three sides 2-2.7 cm, below 4.6 cm wide. – Lower text/paper field partially with tidemark showing through from the back slightly more distinctly only below the caption as also a trifle thin in the paper.

Offer no. 15,977 / EUR  730. / export price EUR  694. (c. US$ 802.) + shipping

Ridinger, Bearded Guenon

Great Bearded Guenon with Small One. “… uncertain to which species it shall belong to … Ridinger describes them as old and young. In some copies I find the face of the supposed young one black, yet in others – so here, too – flesh pinkish. In correspondence to the latter it might be Cercopith. cynomolgus” (Th.). – Both regaling themselves with grapes and apples (?), yet vigilant of the beholder. The small one chained to ball. Colored etching with engraving as above, but by Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Inscribed: CERCOPITHECVS. / Große bartige Meerkatze mit kleiner. / Le Marmot grand barbu avec ses petits. / Familia IV. Fünfzæhig. / J. El. Ridinger fec. 12 × 7⅞ in (30.6 × 19.9 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1091. – Faint/moderate partial water stain in the lower 9 cm on the back perceptible on the front practically only below the platemark in the white paper margin of 5 cm as stain of 1⅛ × 1⅝ in (3.5 × 4 cm). – Painterly sujet.

Offer no. 15,984 / EUR  745. / export price EUR  708. (c. US$ 818.) + shipping

Ridinger, Bearded Monkey/Guenon

“ very remarkable and worth seeing ”

A Bearded Monkey. / A Bearded Guenon. Sitting on and beside a boulder resp., both keeping the beholder in sight. Colored etching with engraving by supposedly Martin Elias Ridinger as above. Inscribed: SIMIA BARBATA. CEBUS BARBATUS. / Ein bärtiger Affe. Eine bartige Meer Katze. / Singe barbu. Le Marmot barbu. / Familia IV. Fünfzähige. / Ridinger, sc. 12¼ × 8¼ in (31 × 21 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1089. – Faint partial water stain in the lower 9 cm of the back perceptible on the front practically only below the platemark in the white paper margin of 5 cm as smaller stain and a bit thin in the paper. – Very painterly .

“ A bearded kind of both monkeys and guenons … which in regard of the their build are very remarkable and worth seeing, too ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 15 f., enclosed in copy).

Offer no. 15,982 / EUR  745. / export price EUR  708. (c. US$ 818.) + shipping

Ridinger, Lemur/Guenon

Ring-tailed Lemur. / Really Small Guenon. “a) The Dwarf Lemur is colored flesh pinkish, rather should be ashen” (Th.). Colored etching with engraving by supposedly Martin Elias Ridinger as above. Inscribed: CEBUS, CAPITE VULPINO. CEBUS MINOR. / Füchsel Mänchen. Ganz kleine Meer Katze. / Le Marmot avec la Tete de renard. Marmot petit. / Familia IV. Fünfzähige. / Ridinger, sc. 12¼ × 8¼ in (31 × 21 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1093. – Moderate partial water stain in the lower 9 cm on the back perceptible on the front a little only in the text field, a little more distinctive below the platemark in the white paper margin of 5 cm, besides a minimal thinness in the paper there. At the lateral far paper edges a few faint little brown stains/spots. – Charming sujet.

“ … a so-called ring-tailed lemur, or fox monkey, which in its drawing also has quite some particular and nice. Beside this, however, there is yet another small kind of guenons which shows in its facial formation extraordinarily human. One can hardly believe how much splendidly beautiful and lively the creator has added even to this small animal ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 15 f., enclosed in copy).

The attribution of the work to Johann Elias’ eldest, Martin Elias, results from the style regarded as individual – like a dot or comma between “Ridinger” and for instance “fec.” – as compared against such plates of the Animal Kingdom inscribed with his name.

Offer no. 15,986 / EUR  690. / export price EUR  656. (c. US$ 758.) + shipping

Ridinger, Greenish/Yellowish Monkey

Greenish Monkey. / Yellowish ditto. “Belong both to one species, called the vervet monkey” (Th.). The former, chained to a ball, dignified in its appearance, the latter sprightly, as if looking for advice, opposite to it. Colored etching with engraving by supposedly Martin Elias Ridinger as above. Inscribed: CEBUS VIRIDIS. / Grünlichte Meer Katze. / Le Marmot Verd. / Familia IV. Fünfzähige. / Ridinger, sc. 12⅛ × 8¼ in (30.9 × 20.9 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1090. – Moderate partial water stain in the lower 9 cm of the back perceptible on the front only little in the text field, a little more distinctive below the platemark in the white paper margin of 5 cm. – Charming sujet.

“ … greenish and yellowish kind of guenons, with their black facial formation. These have eminently strong and thick tails and bulges on their behinds. One gives them the name Magabay for they are said to origin from this country ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 15 f., enclosed in copy).

Offer no. 15,983 / EUR  690. / export price EUR  656. (c. US$ 758.) + shipping

Ridinger, Tiniest Guenon

Tiniest Guenon. Colored etching with engraving by supposedly Martin Elias Ridinger as above. Inscribed: CEBUS, SAGAUIN. / Aller kleinste Meer Katze. / Marmot Sagouin. / Familia IV. Fünfzähige. / Ridinger, sc. 12⅛ × 8¼ in (30.9 × 20.9 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1092. – Water stain in the lower 10 cm of the back perceptible on the front only as evenly faint browning of the text field and a little more distinctive partially below the platemark in the white paper margin of 5 cm, besides a little thin in the paper there.

“ They are from Brazil and are of various colors … The largest of them are not bigger than a squirrel and the smallest are so delicate that one has to keep them in special cases which are lined with velvet and wool … to preserve them against the severe and cold air. Therefore they can be brought to Europe very rarely ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 15 f., enclosed in copy). – And Thienemann in addition:

“ Two tiny little animals of the species, the one sitting in front of a little hamper, its home, and attached to a metal ball; the other, however, sits in a kind of wattled bell cage, clings with its four hands to the bars and looks at us curiously. Otherwise not very true to nature. ”

Offer no. 15,985 / EUR  590. / export price EUR  561. (c. US$ 649.) + shipping

Ridinger, Lion Guenon (Grey Baboon)

Lion Guenon, Man Tiger. “Is nothing but a young one of the previous species (Grey Baboon), somewhat emaciated” (Th.). Sitting easily against a boulder, keeping the beholder in sight. Colored etching with engraving by supposedly Martin Elias Ridinger as above. Inscribed: CEBUS, LIOCEPHALUS. MONTCEY PAVIAN. / Löwen Meer Katze, Man(n) Tiger. / Marmot qui a le Tete dun Lion. / Familia IV. Fünfzähige. / Ridinger, sc. 12⅛ × 8¼ in (30.9 × 20.8 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1088. – Severe waterstain in the lower 11 cm of the back showing through on the front only as faint browning of the text field, more distinctive only above and below of the platemark.

“ This animal has not become much known in Germany yet. The representation of the same we have received from London by a friend to whom we are much obliged for this kind communication ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 15 f., enclosed in copy).

Offer no. 15,981 / EUR  590. / export price EUR  561. (c. US$ 649.) + shipping

Ridinger, Masked Monkey from Guinea (Grey Baboon)

A Masked Monkey from Guinea. “It is the Cynocephalus of the old, now called Grey Baboon … old” (Th.). Walking to the right, looking at the beholder. Colored etching with engraving by supposedly Martin Elias Ridinger as above. Inscribed: SIMIA PERSONATA, EX GUINEA. / Ein Masquirter Affe aus Guinea. / Singe masque de Guinée. / Familia IV. Fünfzähige. / Ridinger, sc. 12¼ × 8¼ in (31 × 21 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1087. – Severe waterstain in the lower 11 cm of the back showing through on the front only as relatively faint browning of the text field, more distinctive only above and below of the platemark.

“ The eighth (plate) represents a masked monkey from Guinea, of which we have received the drawing by the particular kindness of Sir Hamilton (Charles William de Hamilton; Brussels 1668 – Augsburg 1754) from Vienna. The same is both a beautiful and frightful animal. Of this kind there are found a lot on the cape of good hope. By their ravishing in gardens, fields, as vineyards, too, they cause much damage and also otherwise are yet quite wild and vicious ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 15 f., enclosed in copy).

Offer no. 15,980 / EUR  590. / export price EUR  561. (c. US$ 649.) + shipping

Ridinger, Wood Devil (Mandrill)

Wood Devil. “Is a well-made illustration of Cynocephalus Mormon. The Mandrill is the same monkey young” (Th.). Colored etching with engraving by supposedly Martin Elias Ridinger as above. Inscribed: CYNOCEPHALUS SATYRUS. / Wald=Teuffel. / Le Satyre. / Familia IV. Fünfzähige. / Ridinger, sc. 12⅛ × 7⅞ in (30.7 × 20.1 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1086. – Severe water stain in the lower 11 cm of the back showing through on the front only as relatively faint browning of the text field, more distinctive only below of the same.

“ Their fatherland is Africa. They are very vicious animals which are said to be not afraid to attack humans, abduct children &. as they fear nothing. Their shape is dreadful to behold, yet at the head they are beautiful … yet the older they grow the more beautiful they become, too. Here at Augsburg one has seen some such already which, however, were not kept in boxes furnished with bars as they are said not to be tamed well in these ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 15 f., enclosed in copy).

Offer no. 15,979 / EUR  630. / export price EUR  599. (c. US$ 692.) + shipping

Ridinger, Common Monkey

“ The only Monkey
to be found in the Wild in Europe
( Gibraltar ) ”

( Thienemann )

Common Monkey. On a boulder to the right with loosely drooping neck leash, drawn from life. Colored etching with engraving as above, but by Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Inscribed: SIMIA. / Gemeiner Affe. / Singe. / Q. D. S. XXXVIII. / Familia IV. Fünffzähige. / J. E. Ridinger ad viv. fec. et exc. Aug. Vind. 12⅜ × 8⅜ in (31.5 × 21.3 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1085. – Severe water stain in the lower 11 cm of the back showing through on the front only as uniform faint browning of the text field, more distinctive only below of the same. Left stitching margin fissured.

“ They stick together in troops, but each one species separate and unmixed with others. The leaps and moves they do are very contrived and droll. If they are attacked collectively they stand as one man, gnash their teeth and defend themselves with stones, sprigs and if necessary with their own excrements which they grab and throw at their enemy. However, frequently they become the food of the wild animals ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 15 f., enclosed in copy).

Offer no. 15,978 / EUR  630. / export price EUR  599. (c. US$ 692.) + shipping

Ask for an en bloc price for
Ridinger’s colored Monkey Gallery

“ Monkeys
always fascinated artists ”

Wolfgang Stechow, Pieter Bruegel, Cologne 1977, p. 76

Thomas Landseer, Monkeyana

So for instance

Thomas Landseer

1795 London 1880

whose timeless-topical

Monkeyana

reckon among the but few early
and therefore typical works of Landseer’s :

“ Much more important
was Edwin’s brother Thomas Landseer …

… in the 20s he distinguished himself by a series of 25 plates that were published 1828 under the title of ‘Monkeyana’ (ills. 57).

Technically his etchings are masterly ,

no less admirable the intellectual grasp of the subject. With much humor and sharp observation he transfers the plain life of his time to the monkey’s life. His sarcasm is biting, almost vicious ”

Rümann (Das Illustrierte Buch des 19. Jhdts., Leipsic 1930, pp. 99 ff.) judges. However, with respect to the latter judgement the contemporary Nagler (Monogrammisten V, 686) is more to the point:

“ … the habits , costumes , and follies of his time

( Landseer has ) caricatured delectably ” .

Here available in high-quality etchings – partly in proofs – on large paper.


Einem sich nicht zu einer 12blätterigen Ridinger-Folge entschließen könnenden Interessenten mailte L.H.N. was sein altmärkischer Großvater zu sagen pflegte, wurde bei Tisch genörgelt: Wer nicht mag, ist der Beste.

Daraufhin der noch gleichen Tages nun zugreifende Reflektant:

„ … Denn : wer doch mag , ist nicht der Schlechteste “

(Herr C. R., 22. Februar 2017)