Details from Matthias Buchinger self-portrait (London), 1724.
Stipple engraving. Courtesy of Siglio and the Collection of
Matthias Buchinger: “The Greatest German Living” by Ricky Jay
Matthias Buchinger (1674–1739) performed on more than a half-dozen musical instruments, some of his own invention. He exhibited trick shots with pistols, swords and bowling. He danced the hornpipe and deceived audiences with his skill in magic. He was a remarkable calligrapher specializing in micrography—precise handsome letters almost impossible to view with the naked eye—and he drew portraits, coats of arms, landscapes and family trees, many commissioned by royalty. Amazingly, Matthias Buchinger was just 29 inches tall, and born without legs or arms. He lived to the ripe old age of 65, survived three wives, wed a fourth, and fathered 14 children.
Accompanying an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Matthias Buchinger: “The Greatest German Living” by Ricky Jay is a cabinet containing a single, multi-faceted wonder, refracted through acclaimed sleight-of-hand master Ricky Jay’s scholarship and storytelling. Alongside an unprecedented and sumptuously reproduced selection of Buchinger’s marvelous drawings and etchings, Jay delves into the history and mythology of the “Little Man,” while also chronicling his encounters with the many fascinating characters he meets in his passionate search for Buchinger.
Publication date: March 1 / Hardback / 160 pages / duotone illustrations / 39.95 USD
Books pre-ordered from Siglio ship in January.
About the exhibition
Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger’s Inventive Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay is now running at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through April 11. Ricky Jay will be in conversation with New York Times art and architecture critic Michael Kimmelman on January 21. More info on the exhibition and the event at the Met website.
About Ricky Jay
Acknowledged as one of the world’s great sleight-of-hand artists, Ricky Jay has received accolades as a performer, actor, and author. He was recently profiled on the series American Masters and is the subject of the film Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay. Jay has written frequently on unusual entertainments, and his Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women and Jay’s Journal of Anomalies were both New York Times “Notable Books of the Year.” The former curator of the Mulholland Library of Conjuring and the Allied Arts, he has defined the terms of his profession for the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Cambridge Guide to American Theater.
About Siglio Press
Siglio is an independent press dedicated to publishing uncommon books and editions that live at the intersection of art & literature: inimitable, hybrid works by renowned as well as little known artists and writers that defy categories and thoroughly engage a reader’s intellect and imagination. Artists and writers we publish include Joe Brainard, John Cage, Sophie Calle, Dorothy Iannone, Jess, Ray Johnson, Richard Kraft, Robert Seydel, Nancy Spero, among many others.