Early Morning Sunshine

Louis Ritman (American, 1889-1963)

Currently on View in K209
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•   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, one of the founders of Impressionism.

• The American artists favored images of women in vibrant, sun-filled landscapes or  brightinteriors. An emphasis on pattern and vivid color contrasts characterizes  their decorative approach. 

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

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

artist
Louis Ritman (American, 1889-1963)
creation date
about 1913
materials
oil on canvas
dimensions
36-3/8 x 29-1/8 in.
45 x 37-1/2 x 2-1/2 in. (framed)
accession number
1997.5
credit line
Gift of Andrew and Jane Paine
copyright
© Louis Ritman
collection
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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