Diether Ritzert

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Diether Ritzert (self-portrait)

Diether Ritzert (born January 27, 1927 in Kamen ; † October 23, 1987 in Rüsselsheim ) was a painter and graphic artist .

Childhood and youth

Although Ritzert was born in the Westphalian town of Kamen, he still felt connected throughout his life to the landscape on the Lower Main , where he spent most of his life. He came from a family of architects . Shortly after the National Socialists came to power, his father was removed from the office of Rüsselsheim city architect and began to work as a freelance architect.

Diether Ritzert was already enthusiastic about the performing arts as a child. The first surviving works date from 1940 . Below is an oil painting (title: "Dom") from 1941 - painted with fingers instead of brushes.

War and post-war period

In 1943 Ritzert was accepted as a student at the State University of Fine Arts . Since Ritzert was drafted as an anti-aircraft helper , regular studies are not possible; he is listed as a "student on leave".

After the end of the Second World War - Ritzert is now back in Rüsselsheim - he tries to earn a living by painting portraits and occasional painting. The soldiers of the American occupation forces are particularly interested in his pictures. In exchange for food and cigarettes, Ritzert can sell around 150 paintings - including many with Rhenish and Moselle landscape motifs. Many of these images are now in the United States.

A first art exhibition by Ritzert opens its doors on October 20, 1945 in Rüsselsheim. On Ritzert's initiative, the Rüsselsheim “Malkasten” was created, an association of painting artists with the aim of organizing joint exhibitions.

In 1950 Ritzert started a new course of study. He registers at the school for arts and crafts in Saarbrücken . Here he was particularly influenced by Frans Masereel and made familiar with linocut . He prints his first linocuts on the veneer press of his apartment landlord.

Ritzert received his first public contract - a mural in the newly built elementary school in Bachem ( Saarland ) - in 1951 . Ritzert was able to record another success in 1952 . He was one of the winners of the “Thank You Donation of the German People” competition, which was under the patronage of Federal President Theodor Heuss .

In 1953 Ritzert returned to Rüsselsheim. He goes on a study trip that takes him to Milan , Rome , Ancona , Ravenna and Venice , among others . In the same year he became the first master class student of Professor Georg Meistermann (Städelschule Frankfurt). In 1960 he was awarded the Cornelius Prize of the City of Düsseldorf. In 1962 he received a scholarship from the Villa Massimo Rome.

In 1986 he was awarded the city of Rüsselsheim's cultural prize, which was awarded for the first time .

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