William Ritschel attended the Royal Academy of Munich for six years before immigrating to the U.S. in 1895 and eventually settled in California by 1911. Ritschel won international acclaim for his sea paintings and was exhibiting frequently by 1914. Ritschel took many trips to the South Seas and drew on both his technical training as an artist as well as his experiences as a sailor. His reputation was built on his expressive treatment of the sea, such as in the painting "Rocks and Breakers". In 1918 Ritschel constructed a stone studio-home in Carmel Heights CA, overlooking the Pacific Ocean which provided continual inspiration throughout his artistic career. He held a one man exhibition in 1931 in Oakland and later in Los Angeles in 1942. Ritschel used light to capture the conflict between sun and fog. He continued to paint until his death in 1949.