William Ritschel, N.A. Biography

William Ritschel was best known as a marine and coastal landscape painter who captured the varying moods of the water. He was born in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, and was educated at the Latin and Industrial School in Nuremberg.  As a young man, he roamed the sea as a merchant seaman, and reflected on canvas what he saw and experienced.  He studied at the Royal Academy in Munich as the pupil of F Kaulbach and C Raupp and earned great renown in Europe for his paintings. In 1895, he emigrated to New York City and from there was nationally recognized for his marine subjects.  He was closely associated with Childe Hassam, J. Alden Weir, Edward Redfield, and Willard Metcalf, and others who were pursuing the Impressionist style of painting.  He joined the Salmagundi Club and the New York Watercolor Society.

Beginning in 1901, he traveled the West including Arizona where he painted The Grand Canyon and scenes of Navajo country.  In 1911 he settled in Carmel, CA while continuing to exhibit on the East Coast and in Europe. His paintings of the sea earned him international acclaim and in 1914 he was elected a member of the National Academy. In 1918 he began construction on his ocean view studio-home in the Carmel Highlands. This castle-like stone structure was to remain his home for the rest of his life except for trips throughout the world, especially the South Seas where he frequently visited. William Ritschel was an eccentric who dressed in flowered sarong and perched on cypress-covered cliffs in California with brushes and easel. He died at his Carmel home on March 11, 1949.

Member: Salmagundi Club; NY WC Club; American WC Society; Carmel AA; Bohemian Club; Société Internationale des Beaux Arts et des Lettres (Paris); Academy of Western Painters (LA); Allied AA; NAC; NAD

Exhibited: SFAA, 1911; NAD, 1913 (prize), 1921 (prize), 1926; NAC, 1914 (gold medal); PPIE, 1915 (gold medal); Calif. State Fair, 1916 (gold medal), 1926 (1st prize); Philadelphia Arts Club, 1918 (gold medal); Calif. WC Society, 1921-23; Salmagundi Club, 1923 (Isador prize), 1930; AIC, 1923 (prize); Royal Academy, 1924; Paris Salon, 1926; Stendahl Gallery (LA), 1929; Santa Cruz Art League, 1937; GGIE, 1939; Biltmore Salon (LA), 1944.

In: NAC; NMAA; Monterey Peninsula Museum; PAFA; Oakland Museum; Fort Worth Museum; St Louis Museum; Bowers Museum (Santa Ana); Detroit Art Club; AIC; LACMA; Minneapolis Museum; Crocker Museum (Sacramento); Irvine (CA) Museum; Orange Co. (CA) Museum.

Sources include:  AAW-Volumn III/ Dawdy; Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940