William F. Ritschel

(1864 - 1949)


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William F. Ritschel

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William Frederick Ritschel is best known for his marine and coastal landscapes which capture the varying moods of the water and life on the high sea.

Ritschel was born in Nuremberg, Germany on July 11, 1864. He worked as a merchant and a sailor in his youth, roaming the seas and capturing his experiences of the ocean on canvas. He studied art at the Royal Academy in Munich under Karl Raupp and Friedrich Kaulbach, where he began to receive recognition for his painting. In 1895 he immigrated to New York City, at which point he began to earn international acclaim with his marine subjects and in 1914 he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Design in New York City.

During this time Ritschel exhibited around the east coast and in Europe, however beginning earlier in 1901, he traveled the West including Arizona where he painted The Grand Canyon and scenes of Navajo country, and in 1911 he settled in Carmel, California.

In 1918 Ritschel began construction on his ocean view studio-home in the Carmel Highlands called “Castellammare”, named for an Italian seaport town south of Naples. Old-timers of the Monterey Peninsula remember seeing him often in his sarong perched high in the gnarled branches of the Monterey cypresses and pines, ever studying the ocean in its many temperaments. He lived in Carmel the remainder of his life, although he frequently traveled including to the South Seas and exhibited extensively from coast to coast.

Ritschel participated in many exhibitions from San Francisco to New York, including the San Francisco Art Association in 1911, the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915, the National Academy of Design, the Salmagundi Club, the Royal Academy in 1924, the Paris Salon in 1926, to name but a few.

He received numerous awards for his paintings and his artworks are held in the collections of the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia, Art Institute of Chicago, Fort Worth Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, Detroit Art Club, Smithsonian Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Minneapolis Art Museum, the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site and National Arts Club in New York.