Splash Magazine Articles about Julian Ritter


Splash Magazine Articles about Julian Ritter


Comment by Greg Autry: Dan Greenburg is a noted author and journalist. He wrote several articles for Playboy back in the 1970s about, and was friends with, Janet Boyd. He sent me the following in an email, after having seen the website here:

Your Julian Ritter website is very classy looking, and I loved the story of Ritter lost at sea. Very suspenseful and well-told. It beats the “Unbroken” movie.

~ Dan Greenburg

Comment by Greg Autry: My ongoing website, blog, and endeavors to write a biography about Julian elicited this response from Julian’s daughter, Christine. I was very touched by her emotion, and taking the time to write me.

Hello Greg, I so much enjoyed looking at ALL that you have created & presented on my Father’s Paintings & his Life through your ‘eyes’. I lay in bed last night looking through your Presentations…Kinda got a little heart ache of past memories. THANK YOU Greg, for all your Wonderful Endeavors in preserving the life and works of a Great Painter…my Father Julian Ritter! Sending Good Wishes to You for a Very Happy Holiday Season!

~ Christine Ritter Wells

Comment by Greg Autry: When I met Julian in Summerland, in 1983/84, his studio was out back of the house. The first time I went into the Studio I saw this amazing life size painting of a Stunning showgirl. The portrait of Janet. I immediately tried to buy it. Julian would not part with it. It held a special place in his heart. As did the model, Janet Boyd. Through Julian, I was delighted to get to meet Janet, when Julian and I agreed to do the Las Vegas Fantasy. We needed four Showgirls, and first thing Julian said was, “Janet’s got to be in it”. Janet and I have become dear friends, and she is as beautiful and vivacious as ever. I did purchase Janet’s Portrait, just before Julian moved to Hawaii. Julian told me I was the only one he would sell it too.

Julian Ritter came into my life in the late 1960s when I was the lead dancer in a review at the Silver Slipper Casino in Las Vegas Nevada. Julian’s works of clowns and beautiful women were all over the walls of this casino. When you entered the casino, you were greeted by two life size paintings of nudes by Julian.

After Julian’s recovery from being lost at sea, I was honored when he asked me to pose for him as his model which I did for many years. He was very much the master of his craft. The morning light was very important to him to capture correct skin tones.

There are wonderful tales about Julian. He was as colorful in life as his paintings. I was fortunate to be the subject of his famous painting titled ‘Janet’. Copies which have been seen and sold around the world.

For those that are owners of a Ritter they are blessed in my humble opinion to have one of the masters of the 20th century – his eye captured the light and his wit captured life.

I will forever be young in his works — not bad for a vintage dancer.

~ Janette Boyd Williams

Comment by Greg Autry: Nancy’s father Joe lived across the street from Julian on Edgewater in Santa Barbara. Joe sold a sextant to Julian, which Julian intended to navigate with on the infamous boat trip on The Galilee. This testimonial from Nancy is about her memories of Julian from childhood, his studio, and the creative energy she could feel there.

Julian Ritter,

When I close my eyes, I can see Julian Ritter. I was 7 years old the first time I walked through his studio on The Mesa in Santa Barbara. His home and art studio overlooked the ocean and was surrounded by eucalyptus and oak trees; virtually sitting amidst a forest in one of the prettiest cities in the world. Pipe smoke danced in the beams of light coming from tall windows that surrounded his work space. His hand moved deftly from palette to canvas, as he peered through glasses perched precariously on his nose. Surrounded by brushes, containers of turpentine and often a glass of bourbon or scotch he’d move like a slow dancer to his own creative beat. Whenever I smell a pipe or turpentine, this vision peaks back into my consciousness.

Julian worked hard to be the amazing artist he was but he wouldn’t hesitate to paint a clown face on my freckled canvas. All the children in the neighborhood were christened by Julian in this manner. We soaked it up.

Julian loved the female form and once told me how clowns were unique. No two were ever the same. I observed him painting nudes and learned at a young age how an artists interpretation can bring magic to the art connoisseur.

Thank you, Julian, for being so charming, creative, interesting and exceptional to this young mind. I think of you often as I paint and remember your wizardry and unique spirit that you infused in all your work.

~ Nancy Greco Erickson

Comment by Greg Autry: Steve Shoemaker was one of Julian Ritter’s primary patrons. I actually only met Steve after Julian passed away, when I went to meet him over lunch, and was invited to see his marvelous collection. Steve is a big art collector, but more than that, Julian and Steve were buddies. They were drinking buddies. And they both enjoyed “haggling” over prices. Like myself, and some of the other patrons, Steve would know if Julian needed some money. At times, Steve would buy whatever sketches could be found on the floor, or whatever half-finished paintings were around the studio … the “schlock”, as Julian called it. All to financially support Julian.

My times with Julian were a lot of fun and most memorable. We enjoyed spirits, were good friends, and saw each other regularly. I am a large art collector and Julian painted a number of paintings for me. He was a great person and a wonderful artist.

~ Steve Shoemaker

I was a successful contractor with a love for art, having dabbled a bit myself in oil painting as a child. I was privileged to meet Julian in Summerland, California, in 1983.* Some would say he was crass and uneducated, that he was rude and a drunk. All those things may be true. And I loved him.

Julian was the richest man I ever knew. Every day of his life, he was blessed to do what he was passionate about. It was the essence of his soul to make art and to create Beauty. He imbued spirit into his work. For the most part, he did it on his own terms, some would argue to the chagrin of family, friends, and others at times. And yet, Julian succumbed to the financial realities and his fame, painting clowns and nudes long after he cared to. He told me of the spiritual masterpieces he dreamed of, and also told me he was a “whore” for painting nudes for customers. That was after I had given him a sizable check as a deposit for a commission. And he laughed when he told me that, knowing all too well it was still his bread and butter.

Julian didn’t profess God, but he saw Spirit in life, in the life of everything. He told me about the Spirits in The Galilee. He told me about Spirits in all animals. Once, as I was about to step on a spider in his dining room, he shushed me and told me to scoop the spider up and take him outside — telling me all things had Spirit, and to never never kill Spirit.

I was privileged to watch him paint, and I was intimidated by him. Only because he was so amazing in my eyes. To watch him bring a painting to life by glazing over it with a rumpled-up paper bag and some color. To watch as he’d explain how to “turn” the figure using a cool compliment in the skin tones. To see the twinkle in his eyes as he gazed at a woman’s body. When he painted a commission of my wife Yvonne, I had the audacity to ask him to fix the fingers on her hand. He had obviously (to me) not taken the time to render it, and paint it. He told me, “I don’t make money painting hands. They pay me to paint tits and ass.” Then he begrudgingly fixed it.

I learned later, that my request would have normally been cause for Julian to throw someone out of his studio. I think Julian liked me because I truly appreciated the genius of his work. To this day, I vividly remember sitting in the studio watching him paint, listening to Mozart, and watching the smoke waft upward from his pipe — and making sure his glass of Brandy was always full. Julian liked his little goodies, and I always took him a bottle of good Brandy. A “goodie.”

I Love You, Julian.

~ Greg Autry