JOHANN ELIAS RIDINGER

Ulm 1698 — 1767 Augsburg

A Wild Boar

pencil underdrawing, pen & brown ink, rush and wash. 141/2 x 117/8" (370 x 300mm).

provenance:
said to be from the Nahl collection, a family of German artists, the youngest of whom came to the US, settling in California and joining the gold rush. But the collection of 10,000 prints and drawings was thought to be dispersed in the spring of 1881 at Heberle in Cologne.

This superb natural historical drawing was likely intended to be engraved by one of the most famous of German animal and hunt engravers, Johann Elias Ridinger. Ridinger had learned the art of engraving by studying for three years with J.P. Rugendas. Thereafter he began his career making engravings of horses and then of hunting scenes and wild animals in nature. Surprisingly, there is no catalogue raisonné on the artist and his printed oeuvre is huge. Thus I have not been able to determine if a print exists after this drawing, despite consulting numerous museum websites.

The web-site of the Albertina probably has the most extensive collection of images of the artist's prints and drawings. There one can find other works by the artist that features the wild boar in nature, including a drawing dated 1735 of a pack of fleeing boars.1 The British Museum is another good source and there is a brush drawing in grey ink heightened with white on blue paper depicting a wild boar with rocks behind, dated 17392. It is a study for an etching, also at the BM, curiously dated 1735, while clearly the composition of the drawing in reverse3. Another print of a boar very similar in composition but for small differences in the pose of the boar, the shapes of the rocks, and the foliage, is dated 1731. One might reasonably assume the present drawing dates to the same time as these works, or during the decade of the 1730's. Ridinger clearly enjoyed depicting these curious and dangerous beasts, as he did the stag.

The format shown here is typical for the artist as are the drawing's proportions which leave room underneath for text. Ridinger also painted a Boar.

Ridinger was not only a prolific printmaker but also founded his own publishing house in Augsburg. In 1759 he became the director of the Academy there. His drawings were held in very high esteem and were used to decorate porcelain and ceramics.
1

inventory # 3887.

2

1846,0509.238

3

1865,0520.311