Einhornreiter (The Unicorn Rider) by Richard Heinrich Teschner

Einhornreiter (The Unicorn Rider) by Richard Heinrich Teschner

Einhornreiter (The Unicorn Rider)

Richard Heinrich Teschner


Einhornreiter (The Unicorn Rider)

c. 1916  
aquatint in dark teal ink 
Image Size
12 3/4 x 9 13/16" platemark; 11 x 8-5/8" image size 
pencil, lower right 
Edition Size
not stated 
titled on verso in unidentified hand 
from the "Album of Eight Etchings" 
antique-white wove 
Inventory ID

Bohemian-born puppeteer/printmaker Richard Teschner created a world of goblins, elves, gnomes, trolls, aliens, pixies and other mythic creatures for his Javanese inspired puppet theater and his prints in the early 20th century Vienna, Austria.

This surreal aquatint is of a figure, with a mask and armor riding a dragon-like unicorn, accompanied by its offspring. The trio wends its way through a magic forest and a field of candle-like structures. It was similar to, but not included in, a series of prints he did between 1914 and 1916 titled "Album of Eight Original Etchings".

Richard Heinrich Teschner was born on March 22, 1879 in Karlovy Vary, Bohemia. He studied from 1895 to 1899 at the Kunstakademie (Art Academy) in Prague. Associating with Prague literary figures, he became for the first time acquainted with mystical aspects in local and exotic literature and lore. In 1899 Teschner, who felt uncomfortable with the traditions and narrowness he experienced in Prague, moved to Vienna, Austria. Having been denied entrance to the Academy of Fine Arts, Teschner was accepted at the School for Applied Arts to study under Felician von Myrbach. Eventually he returned to his home town and taught himself various artistic disciplines.

Teschner's second sojourn in Vienna, between 1909 and 1912, turned out to be more successful. He was accepted by and worked at the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna's Workshops: a production community of visual artists in Vienna, bringing together architects, artists and designers). between 1908 and 1912 and was associated with the likes of Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann.

Inspired by the Javanese shadow puppet tradition, he resolved to make rod-puppets of his own design, and moreover to open a 'Symbolist' theatre in Vienna, the Figuren Spiegel, where his puppet actors could perform on a special stage of his own devising. He eventually gained international renown in 1912 with his "Figurenbühne", a fantastic puppet theatre modelled on the technique of Wajang puppets of Java. These first creations opened the way for more personal productions. The Weihnachtsspiel (Christmas Plays), created in 1916, were presented to the public for the first time at the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry in Vienna in 1920.

For the most part, Teschner himself carried out the broad range of tasks associated with his puppet show. Thus, he worked as a painter, graphic designer, sculptor, stage and costume designer, director and filmmaker. He also was a trained printmaker, producing an "Album of Eight Original Etchings" between 1914 and 1916.

Richard Teschner died on July 4, 1948, in Vienna, Austria.