Welcome to the William A. Karges Fine Art Blog

Welcome to the William A. Karges Fine Art Blog, where you'll be able to learn about Early California and Southwest Paintings and discover information about Museum Exhibitions, Current News, Events, and our gallery's new acquisitions of original paintings created between 1870 and 1940 by a wide variety of artists. We'll feature biographies, photographs, links to websites of interest to collectors, video tours, and detailed histories of some of California's most influential and intriguing artists. Visit our Gallery at Dolores & Sixth Ave in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California to view our collection of fine paintings in person.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

William Ritschel

William Frederick Ritschel was primarily known for his marine and coastal views of the Carmel area.   A talented and successful early California artist, his paintings still evoke a strong emotional response.  Using impressionistic lighting effects to create scenes that varied from quiet moonlit shores to dramatic, violent ocean storms,  Ritschel had a remarkable ability to convey a particular mood or atmosphere.

Ritschel was born in Nuremberg, Germany on July 11th, 1864 and worked as a sailor in his youth.  He was inspired by the ocean and its changing moods and became fascinated by it as he drew and sketched.    He studied at the Royal Academy in Munich, and was quite well known throughout Europe.   Immigrating to New York City in 1895, he also enjoyed considerable success in the United States.

He was a member of the Salamagundi Club and the New York Watercolor Society.   Like other followers of the Impressionist style, he explored the quality of light in each scene, using loose, clearly visible brushstrokes, that captured a feeling of movement and spontaneity.   His attraction to the ocean, with its ever-changing moods and motions, seemed perfectly suited to the impressionist approach. 

William Ritschel, "Seafoam and Rocks", 25 x 30 inches, SOLD

In 1911, he came to Carmel, California, which was quickly becoming a thriving artists’ colony as painters began to arrive following the San Francisco earthquake.     In 1912, he began to exhibit his California coastal scenes at venues on the East Coast and simultaneously displayed his works at the Art Gallery at the Del Monte Hotel in Monterey.

William Ritschel, "Trees and Surf", 24 x 24 inches, SOLD

In 1918, he built “Castel a Mare”, his castle-like home in the Carmel Highlands area, perched directly on the ocean’s edge.   He was known as a flamboyant character, often dressing in a flowered sarong.  

William Ritschel, "Carmel Highlands", 12 x 16 inches, SOLD

In 1913, artist Armin Hansen moved to Carmel, and was eventually introduced to William Ritschel in 1918.  Ritschel arranged for Hansen to show his works in a New York gallery and Armin Hansen eventually became one of the most prominent and celebrated early California artists who also focused on marine and coastal subjects. 

Armin Hansen, "Beating it for Home", 14 x 17, SOLD

Ritschel traveled around the world and painted the seas and coasts of various exotic locations including the South Seas, Asia, Capri, and Majorca.    He died in his beloved “Castel a Mare” on March 11th, 1949.   In October of 1949, Armin Hansen was the author of a moving tribute to the artist for Ritschel’s Memorial Exhibition which was held at the Carmel Art Association.

A number of Ritschel’s large scale paintings can currently be seen at the Monterey Museum of Art as part of the current exhibition “Land and Sea: Paintings and photographs of Monterey and Beyond”.   Selections on view include a remarkable and unusual canvas depicting New York City’s East River in Winter, a large dramatic work of a ship drifting in a stormy Sargasso Sea, and several moonlit Seascapes featuring local scenes from the Carmel and Monterey area.   The exhibit continues through October 24th, 2010.

For additional information on currently available paintings by William Ritschel and Armin Hansen, please contact our staff at William A. Karges Fine Art in Carmel at (800) 833-9185.