American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Phone: 646-239-6142
Harvest Time, Giverny, Oil on Canvas, 22 x 26, Signed & with Estate Stamp
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Curator's Comments: Ritman's voyage to America commenced when his parents
emigrated from Russia at the turn of the century. They left the village life of
Kamenets-Podolski outside Odessa for the immigrant experience of big-city Chicago.
But it is important to realize that as a painter Ritman's journey to America was
lifelong, taking him from the France of Monet's impressionism to the farmlands of
southeastern Michigan and Minnesota, where he was to die in Winona at 64. After
studying in Chicago, Ritman moved to Philadelphia, the starting point for so many
American artists, and where he studied with William Merritt Chase. Like his
compatriots, Ritman went on to set sail for Paris in 1909 in order to enroll at the
Ecole des Beaux Arts, where he studied with Jean Paul Laurens. He also studied at
another favorite studio of American expatriots, the Academie Colarosi, but the
turning point in his career was meeting Impressionist Frederick Frieseke in Paris.
Frieseke invited him to Giverny, where he first went in 1911, and from that time his
style changed rapidly from Academic to Impressionist.

In Monet's colony, Ritman worked with both Frieseke and American impressionists
Richard Miller and Lawton Parker, returning to Giverny each year until 1929. He
took his female subjects from Frieseke and posed them in the light-filled windows
and doorways favored by Miller. Parker was a strength in portraiture, and the result
for Ritman was a finely detailed impressionistic subject seen in a chromatic
background with splashes of color depicting Giverny's radiant gardens. The work of
this period is often intimate, or genteel, as symbolized by the fact that Ritman's
outdoor plein-aire work was often done in his walled garden, rather than among the
willows and thatched farms strewn along the River Epte. As he progressed he was
more comfortable with color alone, and this can be seen in one of the very best of
his best Giverny farm scenes,
Harvest Time, which shows us the paysage with its
hay pile. The painting is a unique fusion that captures the agrarian beauty and
harmony of the locale; the farm and its crop are the natural result of human labor.
Note that Ritman's top price has increased by over $100,000 since we first posted
this page.

In 1930, Ritman accepted a teaching position at the Art Institute of Chicago and he
resided in the city for the remaining thirty years of his career. In this period his wife
was a frequent subject, often posed as a flapper with a cloche hat in an environment
created with a single color in all its tonal variations. Ritman exhibited at the:
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts,  and at the National Academy of Design,
along with shows and exhibits in Chicago's art and museum world. Ritman's U.S.
summers were spent among the farms and lakes of the Midwest, and he began to
evolve a more unique and Fauvist perspective to deal with the American landscape.
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