Item #4336 An album of engravings for interactive use. DECOUPAGE — PRINTS.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
An album of engravings for interactive use.
Demanding audience intervention

An album of engravings for interactive use. Augsburg: Engelbrecht [and other publishers], [ca. 1725-1750].

Oblong folio (183 x 297 mm). [115] leaves of engravings, including 13 plates in duplicate, various engravers and publishers, various platemark sizes (contents below). In fine condition. Later 18th-century half calf and marbled paper-covered boards, smooth spine gold-tooled in panels with three impressions each of a flaming lamp and flower basket tool, block-printed lattice-patterned endpapers, plain edges (joints and corners worn).***

A superb album of South German picture sheets (Bilderbogen), containing 27 series of 4 to 6 engravings each (including 3 series in duplicate), all but three being complete. These 115 plates contain hundreds of individual motifs or scenes, most intended to be cut out (for which reason they are also known as Ausschneidebogen). 59 of the plates in the album were published by Martin Engelbrecht, and 49 others are from three other publishers. 7 are unsigned. Three of the Engelbrecht series, comprising 16 plates (plus 4 duplicates), are signed by the artist Jeremias Wachsmuth (1712-1771). Such an album of decoupage prints “in the raw,” in their original context of short series, and before manipulation by their audiences, is extremely rare.

These popular engravings were published in the thousands, for essentially two purposes. Those with many smaller figures were meant to be pasted into scrap-books or albums (Klebealbums), creating one’s own home-made picture books, or onto small domestic objects. While those with larger scenes and figures could also be used in albums, some were intended for theatrical or thematic dioramas, or even for application to furniture or other objects. Both types are represented in this album, which is of documentary interest on several counts: for the subjects — all secular and many of women and daily life; for the completeness of most of the series, each in 4 or 6 plates; for their nearly perfect condition; for the variety of publishers; and for the evidentiary nature of their uncolored state. Prints for decoupage could be purchased uncolored or colored. The quality and amount of engraved hatching and shading in all but the smallest figures actually obviated the need for coloring, and the same is true of the plates by the other engravers present here.

The rarity of such an album of sheets for decoupage can scarcely be overstated. In Schott’s catalogue of 3,216 prints published by Engelbrecht, painstakingly constructed from years of research in museums and archives, Schott mentioned only ten plates of what he called Ausschneidebilder, from four different series (pp. 152-3 and 156-7), including none of the plates in this album. Most of these ephemeral prints were clearly consumed (i.e., cut up), and have disappeared from the historic record.

Although published predominantly in Southern Germany, and indeed in Augsburg, the market for such engravings was Europe-wide, and those prints in this album containing text are often in both German and French. Far from an occupation for children only, la découpure / Ausschneiden / decoupage was a favorite domestic pastime for all ages among the well-off bourgeoisie and moneyed classes throughout the 18th century. Subjects of decoupage prints were nearly infinite (see Metken for an exhaustive list). Our album includes images of tradespeople, merchants, farmers, gardening, a few soldiers, women and girls engaged in music, art, reading, or games, women being grabbed by men (a repeated motif), pastoral scenes with rococo ladies and their gallants, theater scenes and characters, dancers, musicians, flowers, trees and plants, insects and butterflies, birds, domestic and exotic animals, buildings, grottoes, drinkers, and fantastical characters. About 14 sheets contain a multitude of small figures and about a dozen contain single scenes (including with separately grouped figures, unified by a common ground); the rest have both large and small figures to be cut out, and a few have explanatory captions in verse. Some of the scenes are memorable: Engelbrecht’s two begowned ladies playing billiards, one with a hand on her hip, eyeing her opponent’s move, or Leopold’s vignettes of child-rearing, in which a rather large little girl in a feathered cap and grown-up clothes is being entertained by her mother (or nanny) and two well-dressed domestics (?) who are pulling her on a wheeled chair attached by two long ribbons.

The Augsburg publisher Martin Engelbrecht dominated the popular picture print market throughout Europe. Most of his Bilderbogen were produced between ca. 1729 and 1739 (a plate from one of his very early series, no. 4, bears the date 1727, and one of the very highest numbers, 3364, shows Augsburg costumes from 1739: cf., Milano, p. 708). After his death in 1756, his heirs confined themselves to publishing reprints of the plates. Metken claimed that the only known artist to have signed any of Engelbrecht’s prints was the prolific Jeremias Wachsmuth (1711?-1771), who signed three of the present series (16 plates), including one for a theater diorama and a charming series on the ages of life; but three other Engelbrecht plates in the album are signed by Christian Friedrich Hörman (or Hermann), who was Martin Engelbrecht’s son-in-law.

Engelbrecht’s competitors, or emulators, are represented here by the Augsburg publisher Johann Christian Leopold (1699-1755), in three series; the widow of Christoph Weigel, who was active in Nuremberg from his death in 1725 to ca. 1740, when her sons continued the business (four series); and by Johann Christoph Schmidhammer of Nuremberg, active ca. 1750 (two series).

While hundreds of individual Engelbrecht prints survive, and fewer from the other publishers, fine albums of decoupage prints “in the raw,” in their original context of short series, and before manipulation by their audiences, are extremely rare.

Contents (where no artist is mentioned, none are identified):

1) Engelbrecht, series no. 237 (on first plate), 4 plates, numbered 1265-1268, all signed Martin Engelbrecht excud. A. V. Each plate with 20-30 figures, mostly peasants, farmers, flowers, etc.

2) Unsigned, 4 plates, series no. 69, each with 13-21 figures, various sizes: couples, genre scenes, a castle, several woods, rural animals.

3) J. C. Schmidha[m]mer exc., series no. 90, 6 plates, numbered 1-6: various sizes: birds, root vegetables, plants, couples, equestrians, members of contrasting social classes (a beggar family, 2 men carrying a palanquin, a man in Chinese robes and cap smoking a long [opium] pipe), soldiers, food sellers.

4-5) I. Waxmuth inv. et del. Engelbrecht, series no. 227, 4 plates, numbered 1675-1678; theater plates, titled at top of first plate Der verwirrte Ehman / Le mari confondu, two rows per plate, each showing a different scene from the play (Molière’s Georges Dandin, ou le mari confondu), with each character labeled. TWO COPIES.

6) Ier. Waxmuth del. Engelbrecht, series no. 310 [Ages of Man], 4 plates, numbered 1593-1596, captions in French and German (L’Enfance / Die Kindheit, La Jeunesse / Die Jugend, L’Adolescence / Die Jünglings Jahre, La Vieillesse / Das Alter). Single scenes, perhaps for a diorama,

7) I. Wachsmuht del. Engelbrecht, series no. 353, 4 plates, nos. 1783-1786. Girls or young women and a couple of males in pastoral surroundings, reading, playing with dolls and cards, showing their dresses, playing music, a few small birds and flowers. (Schott, pp. 124-126, lists several four-plate suites on this theme, but this is not among them.)

8) Engelbrecht, no. 428, 4 plates, nos. 2123-2126, each with two scenes on the theme of innocent pleasures, with captions in French and German (L’Amour Coquet / Die Ausgelassene Liebe, Le Petit Maitre, etc. Several are copied from the Wachsmuth plates of the previous series.

9) Engelbrecht, series no. 366, 4 plates, nos. 1845-1848: two Watteau-like scenes of couples or pairs per plate, one with a black attendant, one a commedia dell’arte figure, with flowers, sprigs, grapevines, in margins.

10) Three unidentified plates, unsigned, tradespeople and dogs, numbered 4, 5, 6.

11) Engelbrecht, series no. 165, 6 plates, nos. 913-918: full-width scenes of arts & leisure: a seated man and woman conversing, the latter painting; an oboist and woman with dancing bear, a female flutist and a boy playing drums, two women spinning, two women playing billiards, and 2 scenes of a woman in a fancy gown; all surrounded by small figures, human, animal, and vegetable.

12) Engelbrecht, series no. 380, 4 plates, nos.1921-1923 and 1925 (apparently a typo, the duplicate copy [below] has the same numbering): garden activities, pastoral flirtations; two large figures per engraving, with large sprigs above and below and a few birds. First plate (1921) creased,

13) Excudit Christoph Weigely Vidua, series no. 120, 5 plates: 1-4, bound out of order, plus duplicate of no. 2: scenes of music and stately dance, each with 4 lines of German verse. (The plates slightly shorter than the others.)

14) Weigel Widow, series no. 145, 4 plates, no. 1-4; coffee drinking, music and theater, tree grafting, apple picking, all illustrating 4-line moralizing German verses.

15) Iohann Christian Leopold excudit Augustae Vindelicorum, 4 plates, no. 295-298, several figures of women and a few men per plate, costumes, dogs and cats, plants, etc.

16) J. C. Schmidham[m]er exc, Noribergae, series no. 74, 6 plates. no. 1-6, each with 4 lines verse in German. Each shows two human figures flanking a building: a beggar and a well-off man with a church; a farmer and his wife with a farmhouse; an old lady begging with a warmly dressed woman, with a simple shelter in the woods, in front of which a man warms himself at a fire; a soldier or gentleman with drawn sword and man threatening with a scythe, with a castle and tower and verses relating to a theft; a man and a woman with wind-blown clothes, and a windmill, with verses about the wind of broken promises; a continuation of that story, the man and woman flanking a castle on a hill.

17) Weigel widow, series no. 133. 4 pl. no. 1-4. Scenes of the poor, and gentlemen with horses (one scene), possibly illustrations for a play or story.

18) Weigel widow, series no. 146. 4 pl. no. 1-4. More scenes with horses, tradespeople

19) Duplicate of no. 12 above, 4 pl.

20) C. F. Hörman sculpsit. Engelbrecht, No. 355, 3 plates: 1791, 1792, 1794: outdoor dining scenes.

21) Duplicate of no. 7 above, 4 pl.

22) Johann Christian Leopold, 4 plates, no. 287-290: women, games with children, couples, dogs, trees, plants, birds [belongs with no. 24]

23) Engelbrecht, series no. 352, 4 plates, no. 1770-1782: dancing couples, birds, flowers.

24) Johann Christian Leopold, 4 plates, no. 283-296: women, men (two drinkers, one asleep), couples, dogs, trees, plants, birds [belongs with no. 22]

25) Engelbrecht: 2 plates, numbered 1065-1066: two wealthy equestrians on a road, passing a less well-off pedestrian, large farm building in background; a couple with baby, a man with his cart and horse, in the background a town (Augsburg?), birds and plants in margins

26-27) Engelbrecht: series no. 52, 6 plates, no. 305-310, and series no. 61, 6 pl., no. 359-364: costume plates, each with a male and female figure, flanking a central motif or scene (a grotto, exotic hunters on rocks, a garden, a triumphal arcg, etc.), other small figures, including animals and mythological creatures at top, captions in french and German. (Schott, pp. 120-121, lists other such suites, but not this one.)

Cf. F. Schott, Der Augsburger Kupferstecher und Kunstverleger Martin Engelbrecht und seine Nachfolger (Augsburg 1924); S. Metken, Geschnittenes Papier: eine geschichte des Ausschneidens in Europa von 1500 bis heute (Munich, 1978), pp. 102-103; A. Milano, “I diorami teatrali di Martin Engelbrecht,” Barockberichte 2005 (40/41), pp. 704-711: Cf. M. Bauer, “Christoph Weigel (1654 - 1725), Kupferstecher und Kunsthändler in Augsburg und Nürnberg,” Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens, 23 (1982), cols. 693-1186. On the Klebealbum tradition, cf. Georg Haindl, Die Kunst zu Wohnen: Ein Augsburger Klebealbum des 18. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 2010). Thieme-Becker 35: 5 (Wachsmuth), 23: 93 (Leopold); 31: 131 (Schmidhammer); 17: 219 (Hörmann).
Item #4336

Price: $14,000.00