Focusing on themes of nature and its contests, Ritschel’s work captured the raw power and vitality of the Pacific crashing against the rocky cliffs of the Carmel Highlands where he lived. “He gives us no symphonies of soft tones, no tender moods of nature that invite the soul with their poetic harmonies,” critic Jessie Maude Wybro explained. “His is the full crash of Wagnerian orchestration.”
Born in Nuremberg, Germany, Ritschel studied art at the Royal Academy in Munich and travelled extensively in Europe before coming to the United States in 1895 and settling in New York City. In 1905, he began exhibiting at the National Academy of Design and became a full academician in 1914. Although he kept a New York address, he moved to the Monterey Peninsula in 1911.