Sunlit Window

Louis Ritman (American, 1889-1963)

Currently on View in K208
Image Licensing

  • Ritman treated each element in this painting as an opportunity to explore decorative patterning. He created a rich, quilt-like display of floral prints, stripes, checks, and dappled light, animating every available surface.
  • As Ritman’s style in Giverny developed under the influence of Richard Miller and Frederick Frieseke, he used patterning as a way to play with various effects of light, color, and space. The gridded tablecloth, for example, manipulates the view of the tabletop and side so that they appear on the same plane.
A Shift Toward Figure Painting

Louis Ritman enrolled in the École des Beaux Arts in the summer of 1909. Around 1911, he moved to Giverny, where he spent almost two decades. At this time, Ritman came under the influence of the American Impressionists Richard Miller and Frederick Frieseke. He was particularly inspired by their paintings of women in domestic interiors and garden settings. Their approach differed from the previous artists who resided in Giverny because they focused on figure painting over landscapes. A popular subject included women relaxing in their boudoirs or in sunlit gardens. By the summer of 1913, Ritman was producing images of nude and partially draped figures.

In Sunlit Window, the floral prints of the wallpaper, curtains, and model’s blouse co-exist with the potted plant leaves and the emphatic stripes of the venetian blinds and table legs. The orderly patterns contrast abruptly with the buzzing confusion of nature seen through the open window. The striking difference between the style of Early Morning Sunshine (IMA) and Sunlit Window is due to Ritman’s contact with the artist Frederick Frieseke, leader of the Giverny Group, who achieved fame with his use of strong, colorful decorative patterns.

Love, Richard H. Louis Ritman: From Chicago to Giverny. Chicago: Haase Mumm Publishing Company.

Donated to the museum by the Louis Ritman estate through Maurice Ritman

Object Information

Louis Ritman (American, 1889-1963)
creation date
oil and tempera on canvas
47 x 39-3/4 in. (canvas)
56-1/4 x 48-5/8 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
Gift from the Estate of Louis Ritman
© Louis Ritman
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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