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William Frederic Ritschel
1864 - 1949
from our Jan '17 Newsletter
William Ritschel at easel
William Ritschel, famous in
Europe and New York,
but Carmel was home
William Ritschel settled in Carmel in 1911 at the age of 46, becoming one of the first artists to establish residence there subsequent to the devastating earthquake in San Francisco in 1906, and that is where he died in 1949. On the rocky cliffs of Carmel Heights he built a home called "Castellammare", named for an Italian seaport town south of Naples.


William Ritschel Smithsonian Photo
William Ritschel, Smithsonian Collection

The art works of William Frederic Ritschel are held by at least 16 museums including the Oakland Museum of California, with an extensive collection at the Monterey Art Museum.

Although William Frederic Ritschel was a well established artist in Europe and New York, he made California his home. He was born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1864. He studied art at the Royal Academy in Munich before emigrating to New York City in 1895. Much of his young life was spent at sea, and it is not surprising that as an artist his focus was on capturing the sea with its many personalities.

He was a member of the 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; and NAC. He was exhibited in many prestigious venues.

His watercolors tended to be rendered in mixed media, including gouache and even pastel pigment touches.

William Ritschel Boats in the Surf

William Ritschel Boats in the Surf Signature

Dutch Pinks in the Surf
c. early 1890's
Katwijk, Holland
Mixed Media, 6 3/4 x 9


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William Ritshel Katwijk Beach Holland Art Institute of Chicago
William Ritschel, Katwijk Beach. c. early 1890's
collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection

In the early 1890's, Ritschel painted a number of coastal scenes near the city of Katwijk, Holland, about 10 miles north of the Hague. To the left is an example, Katwijk Beach from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

At the time, Ritschel was studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich between 1888 and 1894. His seascapes and paintings of horses were exhibited throughout Germany and in Paris. He came to the U.S. in 1895.

Katwijk Beach
Watercolor and guache on ivory paper laid down on board
10 1/4" x 15 14"

William Ritschel Boats in the Surf with Frame

William Ritschel Boats in the Surf Closeup