Ride with the Great Horses-Rugendas
Two Most Rare Pendant Drawings
of the Late Period
hitherto remained unrecognized for their ranking in the œuvre
Rugendas I, Georg Philipp (1666 Augsburg 1742). Assembling for the Ride. Two large companies in setting-out movement. Two brush drawings in varied grey up to brown over pencil. Not before 1730 . 7½-7⅝ × 9⅜ in (190-193 × 237-238 mm).
On toned light HONIG laid paper, one of which with the cut word mark C & I HONIG as in use since 1730 and used by Rugendas also for his signed spectacular drawn “Cavalry Battle before the Fortress” of 1738 from his bequest (Biedermann, [Master Drawings of German Baroque], Augsburg 1987, no. 173 + Rugendas catalog Augsburg, 1998, ills. 22), there in addition with fleur-de-lis arms and the countermark IV standing for the French partner Jean Villedary (his own mark “IV ILLEDARY” on the younger Georg Philipp’s drawing of 1736 here). – Under acid-free passepartouts with 23.5-carat gilt stamped artist’s name and dates.
On the back lower left numbered by old in brown ink 191/92, but hardly originating from a sketchbook (“All drawings [in Augsburg] originate from dissolved sketchbooks”, Held, Gg. Ph. Rugendas, 1996, p. 121, as come to there 1855 with the family bequest after the death of the Brazilian Johann Moriz), though by its format corresponding with such as Gode Krämer imparts for these especially two obvious standard formats of Rugendas’ of c. 7⅛ × 9⅞ and c. 7⅞ × 13 in (18 × 25 and c. 20 × 33 cm) resp. (op. cit. Rugendas catalog p. 27). As throughout plain detail studies, frequently on both sides, they are out anyway, also those sheets lack any earlier numbering.
The chronological aspect set by the watermark, however,
increases the richness of the picture of present pendants
by a rarity factor of degree .
For according to Krämer the “fact (goes) that except for the Berlin stock (of drawings in red chalk related to the mezzotint production), some smaller and larger drawings for large thesis sheets and preparatory drawings similar to these for portraits of princes
practically no drawings after 1720 were found ;
and above all from the lack of any preparation by drawings for the paintings started again from 1735”. With the exception of just the above cavalry battle as being “quite at the end of his œuvre of drawings … secured for 1738 by signature and date” (op. cit., p. 34/III).
But also “composition studies – and just such ones the ones here are – have not survived that much and none which is to be joined directly with a later execution”, so Gode Krämer before on the group of small sketches of figures and parts of figures in chalk and pencil (p. 28/I), and as the latter obviously also is true for the pair here. Yet recourses to earlier works are obvious.
So we encounter both the two horsemen oriented straight ahead at the center of the main group of five acting to the right of the first sheet already in the opening sheet (Teuscher 31 with ills.; 9⅝ × 15½ in [24.5 × 39.5 cm]) of the set of “Scenes of the Siege of the City of Augsburg” of 1705 where the decisive front figure – as such then here, too – is a general of the besieging troops giving orders, to whom the addressee pays his respect by uncovered head. Nothing of this here anymore, also the position of the latter’s horse made independent to now laterally. And only in the drawing a further horseman is placed rectangularly to the left. And this rectangular combination of two corresponds in its turn with the two horsemen in the school sheet Teuscher 296 of a trainer showing an examinee practicing the walk.
The horseman placed to the right of the general in the siege plate finally appears in the drawing shifted laterally right behind this, both times quite, though differently, covered. So in the etching he is visible from the chest only, in the drawing already from the seat. His horse there with almost complete head & front up to belly height, here, however, covered up to short below the mane-line.
Also graphically treated reservedly the set-back group of three of the right picture field reminding only in traces of the correspondingly placed two officers of the print. Its hilly background with silhouette of Augsburg here only by simple wash as picture technical and additionally higher close-range scenery.
Generally the composition of the picture follows most different premises. There the main group accompanied by the direct train as center of the subject before the circle of siege in front of the partly burning town. Here a left-side determined detail-like fullness of picture of an elegant company with civilian train chatting with each other before the immediate setting-out as palpably mediated on the side of the horses. Between the scenes once & now there lies a whole generation.
The second one of the drawings presents itself by its optical reference to the first in composition, technique, size, and paper as pendant, supported also by the numbering on the back. Above all, however, it is dominated by the same “general”, though here in walk to the left straight ahead and in such a manner with visible sword. In the absence of a left-sided neighborhood he looks into the distance there. And contrary to the general of the siege-scenery riding a piebald here then
quoting Wouwerman mounted on a white horse on both sheets
as mark of dominance. Rectangular to him a lady in the side-saddle whose outstretched left, but only this, quotes the sutler riding a mule of the siege-etching Teuscher 35. And quite marginally the outstretched right of the horseman outside left reminds of that of the left horseman in Teuscher 32.
To the knowledge here, agreed with after review of photos by Dr. Krämer, custodian em. of the Municipal Art Collections Augsburg and curator of the above 1998 Rugendas exhibition, per oral utterance, at the same time remarking that, as here, the closely and prominantly seen group also were a characteristics of the late paintings, they are according to all the above
two of those rare autonomous drawings of the master’s
in the meaning of literature .
So Held (op. cit., p. 127) reminds of horse pairs of equal composition and size from the end of the 1690s partly known from contemporary after-engravings only, whose careful execution, especially also with regard to wash and “(ground zones) indicated by shadow and lines” – the second one of present drawings treated with great variety – would suggest the hypothesis of autonomous works.
On this Gode Krämer op. cit., page 26/I:
“ … there are only few autonomous drawings of him .
Almost his complete work of drawings is virtually serving, consists of studies, sketches, re-drawings, copy and proof drawings by own hand, which prepare own paintings, etchings, and mezzotints or printed works of other artists. ”
And when with respect to the quality of his painting Held mentions “his already early marked talent for
tender , atmospheric moods
which mitigates the (there) martial content of his pictorial themes” (p. 142), so just likewise present drawings are determined by
the softness of their brush technique ,
deliberately still raised by the toned paper ground. The latter then also partially absorbs the browning particularly on the back of about 4 cm of the respective right margin of the subject as well as with the second sheet 3 cm at the lower margin front side and conveys as not improper patina of three lively centuries. Otherwise of impeccable final freshness.
That these Rugendas in addition are of civil picture content inevitably makes them additionally wall-efficient (averted from the sun!) for today’s horse-fancier and with regard to the due to the period in their majority martial scenes especially desirable for the collector. For
“ Rugendas’ interest in horses is … (just) not only conditioned by the martial theme of his work. It is also consequence of a hippological interest growing since the 16th century that manifests itself especially in the 17th century in numerous illustrated textbooks on the ‘high school’. Now and then these were illustrated by well-known battle painters as e.g. Charles Parocell ”
(Held, op. cit., page 127).
Actually “the great draughtsman Rugendas” (Krämer) was a horse depictor in general plain and simple and
“ without doubt a first-rate talent, for not to say, a genius. Doubtless, set under better conditions, like living in the Netherlands about 1650, an artist … who would have
surpassed all his horse and battle competitors ”
(Wilhelm Schmidt 1889 in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, vol. XXIX, page 600).
And for the immediate 18th century the painter colleague Ferdinand Kobell brought his esteem drastically to a T in his statement of 1771, by which he differentiated the artistic Augsburg of the previous generation exemplarily: “only a pity that at such a place a Ridinger – and Rugendas have lived” (Décultot et al. [ed.], Joh. Gg. Wille, Correspondence, Tübingen 1999, p. 486).
For the latter then here & now two “civil” pendant drawings of rank and beauty . And for the œuvre of drawings of that absolute rarity proven above making them so precious .
“ Very fine qualities ”
judged Christian von Heusinger, head em. of the Department of Drawings of the Brunswick Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum famous for its collections on occasion of a visit.
Without glass + frame
Offer no. 15,181 / price on application
“ Many years ago I bought from you the print/litho from Mourot ‘Sophia....’ We are still very happy with this acquisition. For my collection and family history/genealogy I am looking for some very special prints … ”
(Mijnheer P. van de W., May 19, 2012)