500 Years Brazil —
Push forward to Her Explorers
with the pen
with the pencil
the two Europeans,
who described America
the most lively
D. F. Sarmiento,
Argentinian writer + president of the republic
as contemporary quoted after Diener 1994
I should and wanted to be
of the continent newly discovered by Columbus,
I wanted to show the world
what picturesque treasures the tropical world offers
since only few organizations are allowed
to follow the troublesome career.
I felt called upon to be
the pilot of the arts
on a field others will then present exhaustingly.
Johann Moriz Rugendas
in his summing-up towards Alexander von Humboldt,
quoted after Carl Albert Regnet in
Münchener Künstlerbilder. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Münchener Kunstschule,
Munich 1871; adopted in
Deutsches Biographisches Archiv, fiche 1066, pp. 224-234.
Supplementary from the same source:
“ ‘Already Herder’, Rugendas says in notes that are in the hands of the author,
‘called for to roam the world with the pencil, –
I took this advice almost to literally’. ”
The latter part Hyacinth Holland adopted in ADB only partly literally.
Arrangement , Start , End & Sequel of a Voyage
THE VOYAGE , BY THE BRAZILIAN
and South America Traveler !
JOHANN MORITZ RUGENDAS’
(1821 – 1825)
in Letters by his Father and his own.
With details increasing the research knowledge about the
and on Rugendas’ return itself.
Of rich contents of humanly most beautiful evidence, however,
“ In the harbour of Gessendorf (= Geestendorf, part of Bremerhaven)
half an hour from Bremerlehe ( Bremerhaven-Lehe ) Dec: 10, 1821 ”
where the ship found refuge from continuous heaviest winter gales
With provenance Adalbert Freiherr von Lanna
( 1839 – 1909 )
and after 90 years quite virginal on the market
– all citations translated from German –
Rugendas, Johann Lorenz II (1775 – Augsburg 1826) + Johann Moritz Rugendas (Augsburg 1802 – Weilheim/Teck 1858). Set of
7 original letters + documents from 1821-1825
plus 1 later from Valpareiso of 1840,
signed throughout. In-8 to in-2. Totally 10½ pages. In Lanna’s pre-printed (“Druck der Bohemia.”) and completed by hand autograph folder with J W ZANDERS’ typographic + large fleur-de-lis watermarks as part X, no. 62.
Adalbert Frhr. von Lanna, Prague
Pablo Diener + Maria de Fátima Costa
A América de Rugendas / Obras e Documentos (here 1-2 + 4-8)
São Paulo 1999, pp. 34-36 + 40-47 with 3 illustrations.
- The Application (August 1821)
- The Arrangement of the Contract (September 1821)
- The Event-letter from the Storm-intermediate Stop in Bremerhaven (December 1821)
- The Report on his Well-being and Imminent Return from Brazil (August 1824)
- Memorandum on the Future of Johann Moritz Rugendas (March 1825)
- Announcement of his Return until August 1825 (May 1825)
- The Sequel “in the Case of von Langsdorf” (December 1825)
- An Evidence-greeting from the Second Voyage from Valpareiso (September 1840)
During the first decades of the 19th century over the distance of about a three-month-voyage South America and especially Brazil were a magnet namely for German explorers. And their travels created by themselves the wish for new worlds, inspiring others and finally leading to partly spectacular reports and research results, documented in large plate books. Among the most sensational the Picturesque Voyage in Brazil as the extract of the first travel of 1821-1825 by
Johann Mori(t)z Rugendas
published instantaneously in lithography since 1827 ( offer for a copy of the 1986 facsimile edition now out of print on request ) by Engelmann in Paris, the pupil of Senefelder and concluded in 1835 when the artist was already since four years on his second and last, the 16 years “great American voyage” through the south “he undertook on the urge of Alexander von Humboldt”. Although equipped with only sparing means, but “relying on his art and his iron will … As though he feels well only under most exhausting hardship which his iron nature endured with a wonderful buoyancy, he was driven by a berserk lust for travelling … The charm of novelty with daily surprises incited him and the bravery to overcome obstacles looking quite not possibly” (Hyacinth Holland in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie).
Such a fascination filled an only 19-year-old as the fifth and last generation of the Augsburg artist’s dynasty of the Rugendas’ spanning two centuries (1666-1858). After a first education at the art academy in Augsburg directed by his father he changed to the Munich academy in 1817 – just in the same year that there Spix and Martius started to their much discussed Brazilian expedition (1817-1820). And after a stay at home Georg Heinrich Frhr. von Langsdorff (Wöllstein, Rhinehessen, 1774 – Freiburg/Breisgau 1852) as Russian Privy Councillor, chargé d’affaires in Brazil, and consul general in Rio de Janeiro (since 1813 according to Diener 1994; Teuscher: Prussian consul general there) not just returned there, but foremost and not least for the organization of German immigration – 90 emigrants were travelling with him – prepared an expedition into the country and thus was looking for – a young “illustrator”! And made a choice the Argentinian writer and president of the republic, D. F. Sarmiento, as contemporary expressed in words:
“ HUMBOLDT with the pen and RUGENDAS with the pencil
the two Europeans
who described America the most lively ”
(quoted after Diener 1994).
And that’s the starting situation of this
fascinating autograph documentation .
W. F. von Karwinski (“Karw.”, 1780-1855, botanist collecting in Brazil and Mexico) informs the Rugendas about the plans of von Langsdorff and suggests an application. As a result
Johann Lorenz Rugendas as father writes Aug. 25, 1821
to Wilhelm von Langsdorff, the brother, in Lahr:
“ Encouraged by Baron von Carvensky (Karwinsky) at Hurlach … that your brother … is looking for a young artist who shall accompany him on his scientific voyages to Brazil to draw and paint there landscapes as well as animals and plants our son Moritz made the decision …
“ My son Moritz, although only 19 years old, but of strong, large built, able-bodied and of good intellectual gifts, also with an excellent talent for the arts, gifted especially in this field of landscape and animal painting, even already renown in these, and, what is a main point, of an invincible lust for travelling and an idea of higher fame, would enjoy very much to be able and allowed to follow this call.
“ It must be comprehensible … that I just not want to set bounds to his wish, but as a father would like to see this subject as influencing his whole future life being settled with thought … By this I kindly ask under which conditions the master … would engage this young man. At first … I state that such a young artist should be respected and treated as companion, also he should be assured of a payment according to the needs there …
“ Can I then if the matter prospers so far hand over my good and I say not too much talented son without hesitation and with good conscience after settled sure contracts (cf. hereto under Sep. 6, 1821) to a noble man … quite being father to him in the vast (cancelled) wide world, in another climate, among other people, habits and traditions, thus for us parents it would be as a good reassurance that we not hampered the development of our son and that … not the hope shall leave us … to see him please God back under good circumstances.
“ It is … known to me that the Privy Councillor will come to Lahr, thus I will send drawings by my son for a view … J. L. Rugendas (art) professor … ”
2 pages. 9⅜ × 7½ in (23.8 × 19 cm). – In regard to many changes surely the draft offering a deeper view. Nevertheless already with address, salutation, even postscript and 2 smoothed folds. – Upper left numbered (by own hand?) “2”. – On laid paper with typographic and cut figurative watermarks.
The Arrangement of the Contract
Preceding the formal contract the subsequent letter by
Johann Lorenz Rugendas as father of Sep. 6, 1821
to Wilhelm von Langsdorff, the brother, in Lahr:
“ Your … letter I have the honour to answer to the effect that it was … pleasant to me to hear provisionally that the conditions by the Privy Councillor will be of a kind to ensure the living of my son as to my reassurance … (Asks) to clear the subject so we can settle the definitive contract the sooner the better … (Supposing that the subject will also) be settled to the satisfaction of the Privy Councillor preparations for the voyage are already undertaken to get (the passport) from the ministry in perhaps 8-10 days … ”
½ page. 13 × 8⅛ in (33 × 20.7 cm). – Obviously copy for own use with all formalities but kept simple. – On laid tabular paper with watermark I B G. – In the upper margin numbered (by own hand?) as no. 4.
Storm-intermediate Stop in Bremerhaven
The event letter from “Bremerhaven” by
Johann Moriz Rugendas of Dec. 10, 1821
to his father. It is the beginning of what Moriz decades later summed up towards Alexander von Humboldt:
“ I should and wanted to be
the illustrator of the continent newly discovered by Columbus,
I wanted to show the world what picturesque treasures the tropical world offers since only few organizations are allowed to follow the troublesome career. I felt called upon to be
the pilot of art
on a field others will then present exhaustingly ”
(quoted after Carl Albert Regnet in Münchener Künstlerbilder. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Münchener Kunstschule, Munich 1871; adopted in Deutsches Biographisches Archiv, fiche 1066, pp. 224-234). And supplementary from the same source:
“ ‘Already Herder’, Rugendas says in notes that are in the hands of the author, ‘called for to roam the world with the pencil, – I took this advice almost to literally’. ”
(The latter part Hyacinth Holland adopted in ADB only partly literally.)
“ In the harbour of Gessendorf (sic!), ½ hour from Bremerlehe … Dear father!
“ Still heavy gales and a nasty wind prevent our departure and yet we miss the prospect of a near change, contrary it is generally feared we had to stay here until New Year, nevertheless we can consider ourselves lucky that we did not put to sea since one got news here about
more than a hundred failed ships.
“ Two … and a large merchant-man that was catched
without men , masts and animals,
from the papers one could see he came from Buenos Aires.
“ In front of our eyes we saw
2 ships running aground.
“ Since the captain … saw that the weather would not change we entered the harbour 10 days ago (putting to sea from Bremen – cf. Diener, l. c., p. 23/1 -, they had to return) where
we cabin passengers have less ennui.
“ We try to spare our time as good as possible. If the weather is clear we (Menetries – the French zoologist E. P. Ménétriès – and myself and the little Langsdorff) let us bring on shore and shoot strand birds, I got a wonderful double-barreled gun for my regular use and under Menetries’ instruction I am already a quite good shot. On rainy weather I give drawing lessons and execute
a view of Bremen
that I drew with pencil there (cf. the remark on their putting to sea above) in watercolors, or I study Portuguese and French. After lunch
the mast is entered
and generally played chess. After dinner it is read aloud, scientific items by the Privy Councillor himself, conversational items by … . About our future voyage is talked a lot. He and I are looking forward to it immensely, it would give me a pain that still almost a year will pass before we start (?) with it, if I would not know I could fill this time with studies of Brazilian trees. Chiefly the expedition will go to Fire- and Magellan land … both countries are almost not known and traveled into. Brazil we will travel after the provinces and the area of the Amazon River will catch us for the longest time. The Privy Councillor draws insects and plants by himself, Menetries birds, and I have to do larger objects only. The first draws insects very pretty, thus Hörman (surely the Augsburg painter and etcher, renown for his studies of plants and landscapes, but passed away about 1½ years before) & (?) his fec(i)t (?) may be placed on the leafs.
“ As we arrived in the harbour almost all of us were sick, especially 2 days before when
the ship laid completely on its side
… the keel (??) plunged heavily into the water.
“ I wrote this letter especially for the reason
that you not were frightened about our fate
first by reports in the papers .
“ Me for myself had been always well and I have the best life of the world, one could call it a life of idleness and luxury since what we have to do is of really no importance. Inlaid you receive the drawing of En…, representing the plantation at Mandioca by En…, that you will kindly send in the name of the Privy Councillor to Doctor Spix. Please send me as soon as possible the colors I asked for in my last letter since the stills should have the diameter of a large coin at least, thus forming when filling (?) into the tin box dead areas that remain empty or have to be filled up with wool or … Instead one could put into Vienna pencils upright as for example (following a small sketch; getting the right colors remained a specific problem of the voyage) … Please afford me the pleasure to write as soon as possible so that I get news about yours, the dear mother’s and brother’s and sister’s well-being and life before my departure,
send your letter through consul Kulenkamp(ff,
Bremian Hanseatic family)
who will deliver the letters correctly to me. Greet and kiss them a thousand times for me … There is no day I do not think of you dears and I have always hoped to receive letters … Thus please be so good not to linger with a letter and possibly send the colors soon, too. Present my compliments … the grey coat were my steady companion, on deck, in bed, everywhere … Greet my dear Kunz many times, I often wished him to my side, should he change his position, please write it me … Will you, since it is by now sure the war with the Turks (Greek revolt against them) is declared, use the sketches I made before my departure and execute them or what are you working on now? Has not (a letter?) come from Munich, if nothing came only Spix (s. a.) is responsible for the prevention. Though references are not necessary for me in Rio since my boss with whom to be very satisfied I have all reasons (nevertheless the contract was broken up only one year later and led to a judicial sequel, cf. per May 12 and Dec. 8, 1825 including Aug. 9, 1824) promised me to provide for any possible acquaintances. We harmonize very well and the way he treats us is very nice. The Privy Councillor has a lot of enemies mostly from business with … If he is doing right I will not find out, he may very well be provoked a lot and nobody is free of faults. Menetries is a fine educated man with whom I like to deal with, he takes much trouble to make me more acquainted to French and by daily practice I really got more elegance. Baron Draid (?) is the greatest fool and nincompoop I ever met and I wish him to Jericho very much … All papers laugh at him and it really damages the reputation of all of us that he travels with us. The day before we were on a dance
in the small country town Bremer Lehe
where he appeared in great chamberlain dress, he is a …
“ Farewell dear father a thousand greetings to dear mother, Louise … please soon by (news your) loving son Moriz Rugendas. ”
1 page. 12⅛ × 9⅜ in (30.7 × 23.8 cm). – Stamped on the back GEESTENDORF, addressed “Mr. Joh. Lorenz Rugendas Esq., Royal professor at the academy Augsburg”. Sealed with dog signet and sender’s reference to von Langsdorff and with note by his father’s hand “This letter I answered immediately Dec. 20, 1821 through consul Kulenkamp in Bremen. Lorenz Rugendas.” – On the upper side of the recto additionally “In the harbour of Gessendorf ½ hours from Bremerlehe” as being originally intended for oblong writing.
On light laid paper with typographic watermark. – In the white upper margin numbered (by his father’s hand?) No. 31. There additionally small rest of a seal. One little hole without loss of letters as a small marginal loss, too. Smoothed folds, the slight palishness not affecting the good readability. – Illustration
The Report on his Well-being and Imminent Return from Brazil
Reporting on the life of Moritz and his nearing return home
Johann Lorenz Rugendas writes on Aug. 9, 1824
to the superior counsellor von Wirschinger in Munich:
“ I feel so free to send your Excellency herewith an illustration of the temple erected Feb. 16th (and in the presence of His Majesty our good King) together with a description, hoping that Your Honour will graciously accept it.
“ The … interest in the fate of my dear good son Your Honour always showed permits me … to send the news that Moritz is fine and well, since May this year on a new scientific travel that shall last 10 months, from Rio into the Brazilian province Mato Grosso, then back over São Paulo (following deletions). Since Mr. v. Langsdorff (cancelled: received Russian funds – according to Diener 1994, p. 24, czar Alexander I had promised to finance the expedition – thus believed) … his … received unpleasant reminders by the circumnavigator Otto v. Kotzebue (landed in Rio on Nov. 2, 1823, surrounded Cape Hoorn and was Jan. 16, 1824, in Talcaguana, Chili) he raised with great efforts the necessary funds and travels in … … the interior. My son, driven by ambition since he was employed once, now goes – I was surprised – also grieved about it, voluntarily and by means mostly acquired by himself along. Clearly he promises to be back in Europe and in our dear country in … 25 and – always his first wish – hopes for a position. The … always shown … lets me … ask to keep my dear good son, this I can name him with gladness …, in good mind in case of a future employment or reservation to it.
“ Director v. Langer (the history painter and academy director Peter v. L. passed away Aug. 6, 1824) has died … ”
Rugendas assured furthermore to fill a position granted before the return of Moritz additionally to his own. – 2 pages. 8¼ × 7 in (20.9 × 17.7 cm). – In regard of many changes surely the draft offering a deeper view, nevertheless with all formalities and two smoothed folds. Upper left numbered (by own hand?) in different ink No. 97. – Two trimmed watermarks.
Memorandum on the Future of Johann Moritz Rugendas
Memorandum “For the conviction of my dear Moritz” by
Johann Lorenz Rugendas from about end of March 1825
“ that in the attempt to further him best I let nothing out, but failed nevertheless.
“ March 19, 1825 I travelled to Munich for an application for a position of my Moritz (cf. Aug. 9, 1824) to present the subject personally to the local president v. Groven(werth?) and superior counsellor Wirschinger after the submitted applications, but received the notice that Mr. Me(a?)ttenheimer became director and Veit professor and thus despite of the warm proposal of director of construction Mr. Voitz the chicanes and nasty tricks of professor Zim(m)erman(n) went through and I had to accept the insult to see my dear Moritz and myself, too, being set back.
“ Superior counsellor Wirschinger by the way assured me that the moment Moritz would be here he surely would care for his best.
J. Lor. Rugendas / father ”
1 page. 9 × 7½ in (23 × 18.9 cm). Upper right numbered (by own hand?) No. 112. – On light laid paper with trimmed armorial watermark with complete posthorn. – To “further the best” of Moritz should finally caused the setting back. For by his death in the following year the father caused a new vacancy and Moritz even was at home, his “berserk lust for travelling” (ADB) obviously avoided the chains.
Announcement of his Return until August 1825
After he roved “on his own and under hard experiences and privations of any kind in Brazil for three more years” (ADB)
Johann Moriz Rugendas announces on May 12, 1825
from Rio de Janeiro his father the return home:
“ My dear father! / Finally I find the occasion to give you my beloved father and friend evidence of my life and news of my now undoubtedly near return. Since March 29 I am back here after an absence of 11 months (cf. per Aug. 9, 1824) and found your dear letters of Aug., Sept. and 2 Dec. with dear inlays that I have not answered yet because I could not determine the day of departure and do not answer today again since I got too late notice of
the departure of the Hamburg
on whose board I will now hand over these lines.
“ This leaf therefore only intended to inform you that on May 30 I will put to sea
with the Royal French brig Le Phaon,
bound for Bahia, from where after a few days I will leave for Brest
on board of the frigate la Bajonneuse
where I hope to enter with God’s help
so please send me your news to that place poste restante.
“ I shall write within the 14 days stay here once again and in greater detail with inlay for dear friends … Fare happy and well until the lucky reunion with your son loving and admiring you infinitely
2 pages plus address on double leaf. 9⅞ × 7⅞ in (25 × 19.9 cm). – Addressed “A Monsieur / Monsieur J. L. Rugendas / Peintre et Professeur / 32 / Augsbourg” with notice of handling “Hamburg d. 4 August 25 J. l. f. Hagedorn”, stamp HAMBURG Aug. 5 and notice of receipt by his father’s hand: “Received Aug. 11, 1825”. – Upper left numbered (by his father’s hand?) first 116 then 117. – On light Whatman paper of 1822. – Of the broken off seal on the otherwise white address page a trace only. Here also slight loss of paper in the torn margin. Of the several folds within the letter almost only the two along folds hardly visible. – Illustration
The Sequel “in the Case of von Langsdorf”
In the case of von Langsdorff the returned
Johann Moriz Rugendas writes on Dec. 8, 1825
from Augsburg “To (?) a Highest Royal Government of the Upper Donau District”:
“ On the … notified requisition of the Imperial Russian Privy Councillor von Langsdorff through the Imperial Russian legation, concerning (?) contract, obligations, and detention of several drawings by the undersigned he has … to reply that he shall be able to defend and vindicate himself sufficiently in case of the mentioned charge, and before long – as soon his effects containing the proofs for his vindication and being already on their way from Paris arrive here – he will submit them. Remarking for now, Your Excellency, that his defence is based on ‘to have been dispensed from the contract by a letter of Mr. von Langsdorff even in the year 1822, having already handed over anything belonging to the expedition, and by the way reserve for myself to submit my cross action against the mentioned Mr. von Langsdorff at the proper place.’ … Moriz Rugendas. ”
1 page. 13⅜ × 8¼ in (34 × 20.8 cm). – On greenly tinted strong laid paper. – With blind stamp Kingdom Bavaria + fee stamp for 3 kreutzers. – Double fold.
Obviously the subject is related to Moriz’ original obligation to hand over any of his works to Langsdorff. In view of the annulment of the agreement some years ago it may be left aside if the “requisition” affects the in addition only temporary company in 1824 that according to his father’s letter above of Aug. 9, 1824, Rugendas joined “voluntarily and by means mostly acquired by himself”.
On this complex Diener 1994, p. 30, yet not knowing of the demission in 1822 writes quite not flattering to Rugendas:
“ He had made copies of all of his drawings and always resisted to show Langsdorff the works … By early November 1824 … (R.) had parted himself from the expedition … and took with him most of his works. While Langsdorff got nearly 79 leaves Rugendas took along more than 500 of his works. With this gain he embarked for Europe in May 1825. ”
More on this then in Diener 1998, p. 23/II.
Evidence-greeting from the Second Voyage from Valpareiso
The voyager can’t stop travelling and adds to the
about the first voyage
an evidence-greeting from the second one:
Maurice Rugendas receipts in Valpar(eiso) Sep. 3, 1840
in Spanish the receipt of an amount of money on 1 page of 4 × 8⅝ in (10.3 × 22 cm).
Despite of its length and scientific-artistic yield that second voyage remains in the shadow of the first one since except for 18 illustrations in Sartorius’ “Landscapes and Sketches of Native Life in Mexico” (1855) nothing had been published. Thus the
“ Picturesque Voyage in Brazil ”
(ask for copy 14 of the facsimile edition now out of print!) of the early years into which the letters here allow such a valuably and familiar view remains the synonym for the voyager, painter, draughtsman, engraver, and lithographer
Johann Moriz Rugendas .
Who introduced by the Picturesque Voyage
“the landscape painting into the field of ethnography”
as von Humboldt stated in his “Plant’s Geography”.
“ Unfortunately the artist made … no written records … not even kept a regular diary; what we know of him at all relies
only on the letters sent home
from time to time … ”
And these letters
were really scarce on market
at all times .
So the letters are correspondingly qualified by the Parisian Rugendas researcher Pol Briand on 21st August, 1999, as pieces of news compared with long-known knowledge:
“ … modern sources ,
excepting your precious contribution ,
do not yield more information . ”
On literature see the notes, especially nos. 1 + 11 as the catalogues raisonnés. For autumn 1999 planned a publication in São Paulo with, amongst others, the first publication of paintings (collection Thurn and Taxis) + drawings from Brazil as well as out of the letters introduced here to his 1st voyage, his Brazilian voyage pure and simple. Finally presenting Rugendas also as history painter.
Offer no. 28,302 / sold
Last updated August 1, 2017.