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Old Masters, Animals, Deer, Growth of Antlers, J.G. Wintter, Set of 10 Etchings, Antique, Germany, 1787


Joseph Georg Wintter (1751-1789)
Set of 10 Deer Prints
from Das Aufsezen oder wachstum des Hirschgeweihes nach Natur genomen von Jo. Geo. Wintter
[The Growth of Deer Antlers Drawn from Nature by Johann Georg Wintter]
[Munich, Germany]: 1787
Etchings, uncolored
Provenance: A previous early collector’s stamp verso
9.25 x 6.75 inches, plate mark, average approximate
11.5 x 8.75 inches, overall, average approximate
$5,000 set of 10 (i.e., 10 prints @ $500 each)

Group of 10 etchings (originally issued as a set of 12) of deer, recording the stages of the annual shedding and regrowth of a male deer’s antlers during the spring. Male deer are also called bucks or stags. Plate I is the illustrated title page, with text superimposed on a large rock face above a scene of grazing deer. The succeeding 11 full pictorial etchings document the growth process of the antlers of a single deer, beginning with the shedding on March 12 until the final branching on June 18 when the antler has 12 points. Plate XI shows the deer with its full rack of antlers, leaping over a tree trunk. The deer are shaded and rendered with attention to the particularities of their anatomy within picturesque stylized Baroque woodland backgrounds. The compositions are imbued with the beauty of peaceful undisturbed nature, while evoking the atmosphere of the enchanted forest of early German folklore.

Product description continues below


The set originally included two additional plates, which are lacking here (plate numbers X and XII). Nonetheless, these prints are apparently exceedingly rare in any number; no other examples of the prints are known to us though a German art museum has an original ink and wash sketch of a deer being attacked by a lynx and a dog drawn by Wintter and dated 1787, the same year these prints were published.

The plates are each numbered upper left, above the image. The publication credits in the lower left margin beneath the ruled border all have the Latin abbreviation Mon. or Mo. This presumably stands for Monachium, which is Latin for Munich. Since Wintter was based there and it is the capital of Bavaria, it is likely where these were published. In the lower margin of the title page is a dedication to Karl II August Christian (1746-1795) who served as Duke of Zweibrücken for the last 20 years of his life, and who was principal owner of the famous Karlsberg Castle. Karl was a member of the Palatine House of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld, and elder brother of the first King of Bavaria, Maximilian I.

Joseph Georg Wintter (sometimes spelled Winter) was a painter, designer, and printmaker in aquatint and etching. He was born and died in Munich. He was a student of his father, Johann Georg Wintter, a painter in the court of Emperor Charles VII. Early in his career he designed elegant tapestries. He became best known for his etchings of views and of animals, especially deer and hunting scenes. He also made picturesque drawings in the manner of Ridinger.

The title of each plate as given on the title page is fully transcribed and roughly translated as follows:

I.  Dem Durchlauchtigsten Herm Karl August …
II. Ein Hirsch der seine Stangen abwirst
III. Ein in der Ruhe wiederKaüender Hirsch
IIII. Ein vertraulicch weidender Hirsch
V. Ein Hirsch im Niederthun
VI. Ein trollender Hirsch
VII. Ein Hirsch der etwas im wind hat
VIII. Ein Hirsch in der Flucht
IX. Ein Hirsch der seine Ende formiert
X. Ein Hirsch der sich aufthut
XI. Ein flüchtig übersezender Hirsch
XII. Ein Hirsch der den ßast abstreift

I. Title and dedication to The most well-to-do Herm Karl August …
II. A deer that sheds its antlers
III. A deer chewing in peace
IIII. A deer grazing
V. A deer in the Niederthun
VI. A trolling deer
VII.A deer that senses something in the wind
VIII. A deer in flight
IX. A deer that forms its ends
X. A deer that opens up [lacking from this set]
XI. A deer in motion
XII. A deer that strips off the branch [lacking from this set]

Title page, lower margin, full inscription: Dem Durchlauchtigsten/ Herm Karl August/ Herzoge in Bairen zu und regierentemherzoge / Fürsten und Berrn/ Pfalz grafen bei Rhein/ Julich Cleve und Berg/ in zweibrüchen oe oe/ Zugeeignet von Seinern unterthänigst Gehorsamsten/Diener Jo: Geo: Wintter. Oberpfalz Bairischer/ HofKamerrath. Hofund JagtKupferstocher:

[The most well-to-do / Herm Karl August / Duke in Bavaria and reigning duke / Prince and Berrn / Palatinate Counts for Rhine / Jülich-Cleves-Berg / in Zweibrüchen ae ae / Appropriate by his most obedient / servant Jo: Geo: Wintter. Upper Palatinate Bavarian / Kamerrath Manor. Court Engraver]

Full publication information on plates 2-11, lower left: JG Wintter inv fece et ex Mon. (or Mo.)

Condition: Generally fine having the usual overall light toning, wear, handling. Some minor pale scattered foxing spots, mainly in the margins, unobtrusive. With full margins, other than one plate trimmed to plate mark and loosely hinged to supporting card. Otherwise, all printed with plate mark variously askew as typical for prints of this era.


Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 8, p. 768

“Charles II August, Duke of Zweibrücken.” Wikipedia. 26 March 2020.,_Duke_of_Zweibr%C3%BCcken (24 June 2020).

“Joseph Georg Winter. Ein Hirsch Wird von Einem Luchs und Hund Angefallen, 1787.” Hamburger Kunsthalle. (29 June 2020).

Additional information


18th Century