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 John Rettig  (1855 - 1932)

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Lived/Active: Ohio / Netherlands      Known for: painting, design, pottery modeler

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Ad Code: 3
John Rettig
from Auction House Records.
Costume Ball
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
John Rettig
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was the son of a German beer brewer. He took an interest in art at an early age, and when he was fifteen, Rettig began to paint frescos. He then studied at the McMicken School of Design (a division of the University of Cincinnati). Graduating in 1881, he also studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati with Frank Duveneck and Edward Henry Potthast.

Rettig traveled to Europe and studied in Paris with Raphael Collin and Gustave Courtois. As an artist, he was a painter, sculptor, muralist, and a theatrical set designer. With his younger brother, Martin Rettig, a fellow artist, he decorated and modeled Rookwood Pottery.

Dubbed as the "Wizard of Scenic Creation", he was best known for his set designs, creating many open air pageants in Cincinnati, North Africa, and Mexico. In 1903, he traveled to Europe again and spent most of his time in Holland at a fishing village called Volendem, which later became his second home.

Rettig was the president of the Cincinnati Art Club from 1890 to 1892 and again from 1908 to 1910. His paintings are on display in private and public collections around the world. Also, he and his painting Crucifixion are mentioned at length in the Kurt Vonnegut novel, Deadeye Dick.

He died at a hospital in Cincinnati in 1932 when he was 75 years old.

His wife, May Evelyn Rettig, was also an artist. The bronze relief on his monument at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio is one of his works, and he is buried in that cemetery.

Family links:
  May Mulligan Rettig (1860 - 1919)*
  Maud Eliza Cundy Rettig (1877 - 1958)*

Submitted by Holly Doan Spraul, whose source is

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, John Rettig was a painter, set designer, muralist, and modeler of Rockwood Pottery when it first hit the marketplace. He began fresco painting at age 15 and attended the Cincinnati Art School as a student of Edward Potthast and Frank Duveneck. He also studied in Paris.

As a set designer, he created many open-air pageants in Cincinnati and also did pageants in North Africa and Mexico.

He spent many years in Holland, living in fishing villages.

Exhibition venues include the Pennsylvania Academy, the Boston Art Club, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American West
Peter Hasting Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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