Ritter, Julian

Julian Ritter is best known for the fine craftsmanship of his nude studies and clowns. His circus clowns are lifelike, humorous and human. His nudes are warm, classic and inviting.

In 1923, Julian Ritter came to the United States as a 14-year-old cabin boy from Hamburg, Germany.

Ritter studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art and The Art Center School, Los Angeles, California from 1932 to 1934. In 1941, Ritter exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art and at the New house Galleries in New York City. The critical acclaim of both exhibitions was highly lauded in ART NEWS (March 15, 1941) and ARTS DIGEST (November 15, 1941).

During World War II, Ritter was a combat artist with the 45th Div. in the European theater. Later he was a set designer and scenic artist for the major studios in Hollywood and painted portraits of prominent citizens of California. At this time he began showing throughout the west.

Silver Slipper in Las Vegas owns an extensive collection of Ritter’s finest work during this period.

In 1968, Ritter set sail on his yacht, The Galilee, on a long Pacific voyage, sketching and painting along the way in search of a new approach to his art. During this period he painted mostly landscapes and local people. His three-year voyage climaxed by ninety days adrift at sea, forty-nine of them without food. These forty-nine days were the catharsis that gave him new insights into himself. “Your mind becomes keener as you get hungrier,” he said. “It gets sharper than ever before. You cleanse yourself of past mistakes and you realize that nature gave you faculties that you have misused.”

Collectors from Mexico, Canada, South America and Europe have come to California to acquire his paintings.

Bibliography:

  • Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975; Hughes, Artists of California;
  • Southland Artist Magazine 1966

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