Bio image


Reeds, T/5 John N. | Ritchie, Andrew Carnduff | Rorimer, Lt. Cdr. James J.

Ritchie, Andrew Carnduff  

Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Officer

Following World War II, Ritchie served as an MFAA advisor in Europe, and was responsible for the return of the priceless Czernin Vermeer, The Artist’s Studio. He protected the painting from being claimed as one of the “202” German-owned works which were transferred to the United States much to the dismay of MFAA officials. It was reported that Ritchie personally escorted the painting home to Vienna, and “locked himself in a sleeping compartment with the picture and a splendid picnic of pheasant and Burgandy supplied by a French colleague.” As the MFAA officer in charge of Austria and her restitutions, he also arranged transport for the Holy Roman regalia from Nuremberg to Vienna by way of a commandeered C-47.

Born in Scotland in 1907, Ritchie immigrated to the United States as a teenager, and subsequently attended the University of Pittsburgh. He then returned to Britain, where he received his Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute in London. In 1935, Ritchie began working as a research assistant and lecturer at the Frick Collection, where he remained until 1942. He was then named director of the Albright Art Gallery (today the Albright-Knox Gallery) in Buffalo, New York. Following his MFAA service, Ritchie joined the Museum of Modern Art as director of the Painting and Sculpture Department in 1949, and became the director of the Yale University Art Gallery in 1957. After a successful career during which he helped establish the Yale Center for British Art and acquired numerous pieces for the museum’s collection, Ritchie retired in 1971. He spent the following academic year as a lecturer at Williams College. Following his retirement, Ritchie and his wife Jane resided in Sharon, Connecticut, where he died in 1978.


Copyrighted by Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art