Early Morning Sunshine

Louis Ritman (American, 1889-1963)

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• Early Morning Sunshine is a superb example of Ritman’s intimate interior scenes. Painting in a fluid Impressionist style, Ritman used varied, broken brushwork and luminous colors in a harmonious balance of blues, pinks, lavenders, and yellows.  

• Ritman worked with the Giverny Group, a circle of American Impressionist painters who lived near the French village of Giverny from 1898 to 1914. Part of their attraction to the area was the presence of Claude Monet, a founder of Impressionism.

• Giverny Group artists favored images of women in bright interiors or sun-filled landscapes. Their decorative approach emphasized pattern and bold contrasts.

Louis Ritman in Giverny

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.

Early Morning Sunshine shows an attractive woman, probably the artist’s favorite model, Mimi, seated on the ledge of an open window that reveals a backdrop of brilliant foliage. The composition is executed using broken color in a harmonious balance of blues, pinks, lavenders, and yellows. Painted in a fluid and delicate manner, this intimate interior is typical of the artist’s early Giverny canvases.

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

Pennsylvania collection; sold at Christie's December 2 1988; Spanierman Gallery of New York; purchased by Jane and Andrew Paine, promised gift to the IMA 1997

Object Information

Louis Ritman (American, 1889-1963)
creation date
about 1913
oil on canvas
36-3/8 x 29-1/8 in.
45 x 37-1/2 x 2-1/2 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
Gift of Andrew and Jane Paine
© Louis Ritman
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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