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Ritchie, Andrew Carnduff

Date born: September 18, 1907

Place Born: Bellshill, (near Glasgow) Scotland

Date died: August 12, 1978

Place died: Sharon, CT

Director of the Painting and Sculpture Department, Museum of Modern Art, NY, from 1949 to 1957 and Director, Yale Art Gallery, 1957-1971, sculpture scholar.  Ritchie moved with his family to the United States when he was 15 years old, settling in Pittsburgh.  He took a job at 17 at Westinghouse in Pittsburgh to fund his education.  Ritchie entered the University of Pittsburgh in 1927 graduating with an MFA (art history in medieval studies) degree in 1933. He secured a fellowship to study at the Courtauld Institute, University of London for 1933. His Ph.D., from the Courtauld was granted in 1935 with a dissertation topic on English medieval art.  Beginning in 1935 was a lecturer and researcher at the Frick Collection, New York, and taught at New York University and Johns Hopkins.  The same year he married Jane Thompson (d. 1986), a Pittsburgh native.  In 1942 he was appointed the director of the Albright Art Gallery (modern, Albright-Knox Gallery) in Buffalo, NY, replacing Gordon Washburn (1904-1983).  As director, Ritchie oversaw the additions to the collection including Seurat's Le Chahut and Gauguin's Yellow Christ.  At the conclusion of World War II, Ritchie served in the Monuments and Fine Arts Section of the United States Army, "Monuments Men" as a representative of the Commanding General in Austria, a civilian with the rank of colonel. He assisted in the repatriation of stolen art by the Nazis, between June 1945 and May 1946, for which he was subsequently honored by France and the Netherlands.  He retunred to the Albright, hiring one of the officers from the Monuments Division, Charles Parkhurst, as an assistant curator.. Ritchie left the Albright Museum in 1949, replaced by Edgar Schenck, to head the department of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, succeeding Rene D'Harnoncourt who had now become the MoMA’s director.   In 1957 accepted an appointment to head  the Yale University Art Gallery, replacing Lamont Moore. As director, he acquired objects for the Gallery's collections (David Smith, Noguchi, Maillol) before their jump in art market price. When the major art collector Paul Mellon (1907-1999) was looking for a university to place his British art collection in the mid-1960s, Ritchie successfuly persuaded him to create the Yale Center for British Studies (today, Yale Center for British Art), guiding the selection of Louis Kahn (1901-1974) as architect (Russell). Ritchie received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Arts, London, in 1970, the first American to be honored.  He retired from Yale in 1971, lecturing as the Clark Professor at Williams College the following year.  He received decorations from France, the Netherlands, and Germany for his efforts.  He retired to a home in Canaan, CT.  His papers are held at the Albirght-Knox Art Gallery Archives and the Archives of American Art.  An annual Andrew C. Ritchie Lecture was established, jointly sponsored by the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Art Gallery, in his memory.

Though initially trained and educated as a medievalist, it is as a British 18th-century specialist and modern sculpture authority that was Ritchie’s reputation. His approach to art was largely the formalism typical of his era. 

Home Country: United Kingdom/United States

Sources: Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, p. 40; “Museum Aide to Head The Yale Art Gallery.” New York Times,  January 3, 1957, p. 10; [finding aid] Tallman, Nathan. “Andrew C. Ritchie Records, 1942-1949.” Albirght-Knox Art Gallery Archives http://www.albrightknox.org/research/archives-collection/andrew-c-ritchie/; [obituaries:]  Shestack, Alan. "Andrew Carnduff Ritchie." Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 37 no. 2 (Summer 1979): 12-13; R[ussell], J[ohn]. "Mr A. C. Ritchie." The Times (London) August 30, 1978; p. 14.

Bibliography: [dissertation:] Types and Antitypes of the Passion in English Mediaeval art, 12th-13th Centuries. University of London (Courtauld Institute of Art), 1935; English Painters, Hogarth to Constable: Lectures Delivered April 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 1940, at the Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1942; and Rewald, John. Aristide Maillol, with an Introduction and Survey of the Artist's Work in American Collections. Buffalo: Albright Art Gallery, 1945; Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1951; Sculpture in the Twentieth Century. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1952; The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors. New York:  Museum of Modern Art, 1955; Masters of British Painting, 1800-1950 [from the collections of] the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the City Art Museum of St. Louis and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1956; edited, and Haftmann, Werner, and Hentzen, Alfred, and Lieberman, William S.  German Art of the Twentieth Century. New York: Museum of Modern Art/Simon and Schuster, 1957;

Subject's name: Andrew Ritchie; Andrew Carnduff Ritchie