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Born in Nuremberg, Germany on July 11, 1864, Ritschel was educated at the Latin and Industrial School in Nuremberg. As a youth he worked as a sailor, and it was during this time that he began sketching marine subjects. He studied art at the Royal Academy in Munich under Raupp and Kaulbach before immigrating to New York City in 1895. In 1911 he settled in Carmel, California while continuing to exhibit on the East Coast and in Europe. His painting 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. Old-timers on the Monterey Peninsula remember him garbed in a flowered sarong and perched on a cypress-covered cliff with brushes and easels. Ritschel died in his Carmel home on March 11, 1949.
Member: National Art Club; New York Watercolor Club; American Watercolor Society; San Francisco Art Association; Carmel Art Association; Bohemian Club; Salmagundi Club; Societe Internationale des Beaux Arts et des Lettres, Paris; Academy of Western Painters, Los Angeles; Allied Art Association; California Watercolor Society.
Exhibited: San Francisco Art Association, 1911; Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915; Paris Salon, 1926; Royal Academy, 1924; Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939; internationally.
Awards: Dozens including Carnegie prize, National Academy of Design, 1913; gold medal, National Arts College, 1914; gold medal, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915; gold medal, California State Fair, 1916; gold medal, Philadelphia Arts Club, 1918; Ranger prize, National Academy of Design, 1921, 1926; Isador prize, Salmagundi Club, 1923, 1930; Harris prize, Art Institute of Chicago, 1923; honorable mention, Paris Salon, 1926.
Works held: Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Oakland Museum; Fort Worth Museum; St. Louis City Art Museum; Bowers Museum, Santa Ana; Detroit Art Club; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Minneapolis Art Museum; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento.
Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Sacramento: Crocker, Art Museum, 2002. N. pag. 2 vols. Print.