Louis Ritman

Artist Biography

A third-generation American impressionist, Louis Ritman became known for his lively scenes of women posed outdoors, often in gardens, or in domestic interiors. After studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with John H. Vanderpoel (1857–1911), and later at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), Ritman enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he became familiar with the academic techniques of the time. Two of his paintings were included in the prestigious Salon of 1911. However, he soon met fellow American painters Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874–1939) and Richard E. Miller (1875–1943) and joined them at the artist’s colony of Giverny, where Claude Monet (1840–1926) had already been living and working for decades. It was there that Ritman began working as an impressionist, often painting en plein air within his walled garden. In 1915, he was offered a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago and his style began to shift, influenced by the geometry and expressive brushwork of Paul Cézanne (1839–1906). In the following years his work continued to evolve, adopting a darker color palette. He remained in France until 1929/1930, when he became professor of painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work was actively exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and in other American cities, including at the National Academy of Design, New York, where he was elected a full member in 1950. His work is in the collections of the Phoenix Art Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Sheldon Museum of Art.

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