We about us :
Originating on the one side from a ramified family of newspaper publishers and journalists with collateral lines in book and art trade, on the other side from generations of farmers in the Altmark with French elements, with the grandfather having the reputation of: two days a week for hunting, two for his farmers in court, two for the pub, and Sunday to church. So far the ancestors. I myself received, as by no means natural in the profession, a decent 3-years training as antiquary for books & art including a course at the German School for Book Trade then residing in Cologne on the banks of the Rhine with graduation from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce there, as second-best “cum laude”. With the turn of the year 1958/59 establishing with own business in Bad Godesberg (now Bonn on the Rhine) with downright drum-like opening sale: one of Menzel’s Uniforms of the Army under Frederick the Great produced exclusively for potentates in only 30 (sic!) copies of correspondingly excellent state. Followed three years later into the very same collection by a dream of a colored copy of Koberger’s “Ninth German Bible” of 1483.
These starting gems had pilot character for the level cultivated till today in art trade & book shop, enriched not least by provenances read raptly and passed on in their élite corps of today and tomorrow. Like for instance copy no. 13 of the 20 luxury copies on vellum with richly gilt colored double suite of the plates in jewel-studded morocco of the inventory catalog of the jewels & preciousnesses of the collector prince J. Pierpont Morgan (“If one has to ask for the price one cannot afford it”) for which then directly, while I was just devoted to the pleasures of gardening, a call from Switzerland was received in the house, standing for a collection of equal quality, a connection which covered decades and doubtlessly originated in a daring-fresh Kubin illustration which – 1960 still prohibitively scandalous – asked for sympathetic attention on the front cover of my first catalog. With by the way yet some further actually very fine responses, one of which 40 years later congratulating with aforesaid catalog to the milestone jubilee. It had been kept. As so descriptive for …
“ Once more you have presented your business and philosophy in unmistakable manner. I wish you – both – also in this year much success and following from your old and hopefully also new clients and of course also personal health and happiness … ”
By which words further seventeen years later another address encouraged for the new year to new activity. Which then one day led, forging a bridge back to the Kubin firstling, to a copy of the “Venuswagen” (“The Chariot of Venus”) with its nine volumes, one more audacious and on publication more outlawed than the other. Of course in its preference edition, in red morocco. But unmistakable niemeyer in its copy No. I only. Standing for Doctor Heinrich Stinnes in Cologne, the prince of collectors, always on the chase for number one copies. Into which he inscribed in own hand paw-like his taking possession of as an ultimate ne plus ultra of unique character. There might resist whoever likes, niemeyer’s, fresh unmistakable through his decades, couldn’t. And now has it in store for the brother in spirit.
But of course that catalog with a first drawing of 1741 – 50 years later on the occasion of Ridinger’s 310th birthday Wild und Hund will pay a visit and portray per richly illustrated 6-page story his protagonists by now already overlapping generations – also laid the foundation for the exemplary specialty of the Ridingeriana of which over the years also a good many drawn and graphic preciousnesses gathered to the no. 13 of the Morgan Catalog. Opening above all yet also the occupation with the wealth of an œuvre which in the general comprehension, quite unjustly, through the times just stood for brilliant animal depiction of especially hunt & horses, while the connoisseurs directed their attention at the whole work and from art-historical side already in 1901 Ernst Welisch (Contributions to the History of the Augsburg Painters in the 18th Cent., pp. 91 ff.) called the attention to Ridinger indisputably being the “most important Augsburg landscapist of this time”, although “primarily known as animal painter”. And 65 years later Wolf Stubbe, subsequently director of the Hamburg Print Room, reminded of “the rococo-bright light shimmering through the whole wide scene (of sheet 12 of the Par Force Hunt as) the impressive evidence of Ridinger’s mature art of engraving! For it takes much artistic intelligence to achieve this just as delicate as animating effect of light. By it, if he knows to handle it, the engraver possesses a decisive means for one of the most essential effects the art of engraving can achieve at all ” (Stubbe, Joh. El. Ridinger, Hamburg/Berlin, Parey 1966, in the series “The Hunt in Art”, pp. 14 & 16). Decades of intensive work here round about the œuvre finally unearthed even more far-reaching aspects of the work, making evident a downright modern Ridinger ahead of his time both in craftsmanship and especially intellectually-artistically. This led to invitations for lectures (i. a. Technical University Dresden on occasion of the ceremonial act to his 300th birthday), specialized publications (i. a. Weltkunst), and references in museum catalogs as call in of expertise (i. a. Berlin inventory catalog [The German Paintings of the 18th Century]). And if the Pompadour volumes from the series of Baron von Gutmann’s Marjoribanks folios – his personal Roman no. I vellum copy of his 2-volume collection catalog of 1910 available here – traded here in the ’90s were the absolute acmes of the Ridinger trade here? Absolute ones positively, yet certainly not “the” pure and simple. A claim they have to share with further precious rarities after all. And finally the raising of the Iron Curtain and German Reunification gave access to the master’s original printing-plates. Gems of which the hitherto absolute nimrod among the Ridinger collectors owned not one, not even could dream of for iron family property held them together for about 150 years! Their flagships now here then representing the master’s personally worked original plates for Thienemann 67/68. Hence the printing-plates to those imperial pendants which in both artistic and technical singularity among hunting prints of all times reckon to the finest hunting pictures at all. As one (sic!) plate works yet shine at the same time as monuments sui generis , almost beyond of any imagination of what even most fastidious collectors consider possible objectwise. Beyond that it shall not go unmentioned that the plate tastings here already start with the small-sized works of the Design set. Just as it is my general credo then:
whether top item or plain fare , always due diligence in research , presentation & passing-on govern the doings of the house. And in no way ending with the conclusion of a sale, for gladly and without having to be asked I share new knowledge with the purchaser on their acquisitions, often even still decades later. Put me to the test and experience yourself why customers of all quarters use to “stick to the guns” here. Recently I congratulated one of the slowly decreasing ones of the first hour to his 95th. Then his last purchase did not date back very far yet. And by no means it remained his last one. For in culture-old Rhineland, from where we moved in here for family reasons in 1995, it usually goes this way: speak to the organ grinder, not to the monkey .
And if there are even two organ grinders, see above, “ – both – of you –”, so each one offers his own. niemeyer II then as onetime navigator international maritime fare. With main emphasis preciousness quite right on father’s backwash. So Neptune knows to wax lyrical about vellum preparatory drawings of the early 1720s to engravings paid dearly for just on their own due to their rarity of the himself already rare Thomas Baston as a pioneer of English seascapes (aforementioned engravings executed by third hand as additionally fascinating in comparison right included). Or of exemplaires enrichi, dazzling the travelers on their search for unique shores. Or absolute perfection. Like, for instance, a copy of the 1749 first edition of Brouckner’s maritime atlas as the first Prussian one. That complete as here not provable in any public collection. The most exquisite one of which then had it served to them straightaway from Neptune’s trident.
“It’s a pleasure dealing with you” –
What customers all the world over say about niemeyer’s …
“ Thank you Mr. Niemeyer – I will take it! … It should look very nice in my new office. Best regards ”
(Mr. J. R. L., January 6, 2006)