Oil on Canvas, 30 x 43.5 inches / Signed lower left
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Impressionist painter Louis Ritter was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and studied at the McMicken School of Design from 1873 to 1874. In 1878 he traveled to Munich, Germany and joined fellow Cincinnati artist, Frank Duveneck, and his group of American artists, known as the “Duveneck Boys”. He went with the group to Italy in 1879. In addition to Duveneck, Ritter had studied with Gustave Boulanger (Institut de France; Académie Julian), Jules-Joseph Lefebvre (Académie Julian), and William Leibl, who had formed the Leibl-Kreis (Leibl Circle) in Munich. He returned to Cincinnati in 1879, followed by an exhibition in 1883 with the “Duveneck Boys” at Closson’s Art Gallery in Cincinnati. The show received a rather lukewarm reception and a somewhat dismayed Ritter soon moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Here he opened a studio and taught at Wellesley College. In 1887 Ritter and a group of American Impressionist artists, including John Leslie Breck, Willard Metcalf, Theodore Robinson, and Theodore Wendel, traveled to Giverny, France, where Claude Monet was residing. Ritter with these American artists established the American Giverny Artists’ Colony there. Later that year he joined Duvenck in Italy where he remained until circa 1889 when he returned to Boston. Ritter developed liver cancer early in 1892 and died at the end of February of that year. He was described by a good friend as “a lovable and beautiful character, an artist of fine attainments and of unusual promise--poetic in temperament, a fine musician as well as painter, genial, humorous, a faithful teacher and sincere friend.” Ritter was a member of the St. Botolph Club (Boston, MA) and exhibited at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts (1878, silver medal); Boston Art Club (1884); Paris Salon (1887); St. Botolph Club (1890); Ritter Studio (1890); and the National Academy of Design (1891). Following his death the Cincinnati Art Museum held an exhibition of Ritter’s work in 1904.