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John Rettig papers, [ca. 1840-1965]

Rettig, John, 1858-1932

Set designer, Painter


Collection Information

Size: 900 Items, (on 1 microfilm reel)

Summary: Biographical materials including passport, business card, and membership cards; correspondence, ca. 1887-1965, including letters from Frank Duveneck and Auguste Rodin; writings; inventories of works of art; lists of picture owners and exhibition visitors; list of contents of his Dutch room in Ohio; one painting by Rettig and a sketch of Rettig by Edward Henry Potthast; 2 sketchbooks; financial records, ca. 1902-1909; exhibition catalogs, ca. 1896-1965; 15 reproductions of his art works; 5 theater programs featuring Rettig's set designs; newspaper clippings and magazine articles featuring Rettig and others, ca. 1840-1957; printed miscellany; and photographs of Rettig in his studios, in Holland with his models, and of his art work.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, set designer; Cincinnati, Ohio. Best known for his elaborate set designs and Dutch paintings. Attended the Cincinnati Art School receiving a diploma in decorative design in 1875. Traveled widely and utilized knowledge gained abroad for the creation of his historical shows, such as "The Fall of Babylon" and "Montezuma or the Conquest of Mexico." Some were produced under contract with Barnum and Bailey. During the latter part of his life, he and his wife frequently visited Volendam, Holland; sights there figure in his paintings of the period. After years of collecting Dutch artifacts, the Rettigs created an authentic Dutch room in their home in Ohio.


Lent for microfilming 1985 by Elizabeth Youssef, niece of Rettig.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Originals returned to the lender Elizabeth Youssef after microfilming.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reel 3614 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

John Rettig papers, [ca. 1840-1965]. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.