Achievement in Art: The Collection of Montgomery Ritchie

Achievement in Art: The Collection of Montgomery Ritchie
January 29 - March 26, 2017


Montgomery H.W. “Montie” Ritchie (born 1910, England) came to the Texas Panhandle in 1931 at the age of 21 to see in person the wonders and wilds of the JA Ranch—likely motivated by the stories shared by his father, Jack Ritchie.  Montie arrived at the ranch during hard times, and was met with several challenges.  The ranch management at the time tried to dissuade Montie from staying at the JA by providing for him the most difficult horses to ride, and the worst jobs to complete.  Montie was not one to be deterred, and traveled to England to obtain power of attorney from the other heirs of the ranch.  He returned and assumed management of the JA in 1935 where he would remain for the rest of his life.  Montie continued to overcome adversity, in the forms of the Great Depression, drought, and debt, to secure the JA ranch for its fourth, and now fifth, generation of ownership.  His business acumen ensured that the JA would remain successful without oil or gas exploration.  When World War II began, Montie held dual citizenship, but declared himself a United States Citizen and joined the Navy Reserve as an aviator at the rank of lieutenant commander.  He continued to pilot his own aircraft well into his 70s.  In addition, he was an avid sportsman, mountaineer, photographer, and world traveler.  He served as director of the Continental Bank in Fort Worth, and director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association where he was named honorary vice president.  He lived a life of courage, ambition, stewardship for the land, and respect for those that worked the land.  Montie began collecting art in the 1940s and assembled a world class collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and sculpture.  This exhibition is a testament to Montie Ritchie’s thoughtful selections, his keen eye, and his incomparable connoisseurship.  Artworks from leading Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georges Seurat, Eugene Boudin, and Edgar Degas are included in the exhibition.  Artworks in the exhibition are on loan from the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis Tennessee.  From 1990 until his death in 1999, Montie Ritchie was a member of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, established by his friend and compatriot Hugo Dixon.  The bulk of the Ritchie Collection was on loan to the Dixon and was then donated to the museum in 1992.  The Ritchie Collection greatly enhanced the Dixon’s holdings of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
French (1841-1919) 
The Wave, 1882 
Oil on canvas, 21 1/4 x 25 5/8 inches 
Collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis; Museum purchase from Cornelia Ritchie and Ritchie Trust No. 4 provided through a gift from the Robinson Family Fund, 1996.2.12

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