The Museum Association Otto Ritschl supervises the estate of one of the city’s best-known resident painters Otto Ritschl, born in 1885 in Erfurt, deceased 1976 in Wiesbaden. Ritschl lived in Wiesbaden for over 60 years as a central cultural figure of the city. A detailed biography is available at www.otto-ritschl.org.
The association was founded in 1971 by Ritschl himself together with a circle of friends to serve as the trustee of Ritschl’s estate, fulfilling his explicit request to make the majority of his work permanently available to the public.
In 1988, Prof. Dr. Tom Sommerlatte assumed the chairmanship of the Association and, together with then director of Museum Wiesbaden Dr. Volker Rattemeyer, drew up a contract for the safekeeping of the Ritschl estate, as well as the exhibition of selected works in rotation at Museum Wiesbaden. Rattemeyer saw Ritschl’s late work as his major work, pointing to its close ties to contemporary American color field painting. Ritschl’s paintings were, then, exhibited under the general rubric of “color as meditative, spatial element of design” together with works by Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Ulrich Erben and Kazuo Katase, owned by the association and put on permanent loan to the museum. In 1997/98, Museum Wiesbaden organized an extensive Otto Ritschl retrospective with an expansive picture catalogue.
The Otto Ritschl Prize was established to keep the artist’s name alive. It is awarded with an exhibition at Museum Wiesbaden, including a catalogue, and a monetary prize. The Otto Ritschl Prize was awarded in 2001 to Gotthard Graubner, 2003 to Ulrich Erben, 2009 to Kazuo Katase and in 2015 to Katharina Grosse.