Sunday, November 9, 2008

William Ritschel

Many local artists have struggled to paint the sea – its moods, colors, movement, transparency, and opaqueness – but only a few have achieved mastery. One of these is William Ritschel (1864-1949). Born in Germany, he spent his youth as a sailor, settling in Carmel in 1911. (He was a contemporary of Joseph Conrad, the great novelist; the two men share a restless obsession with the sea.) Ritschel painted here for decades; today, his works are treasured, selling for $3,000 to $500,000. (He also helped design the ambience of the village.) The Monterey Museum of Art displays some of Ritschel's works. "When the dust settles," says one L.A. expert, "California Impressionists, including Ritschel, will be ranked with the French Impressionists." (Photo: illustration of Monterey coast by Ritschel; available for sale from

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