The Ripers  (The Reapers)

The Ripers (The Reapers)

Born in Naples, Italy in 1872, the artist Henry Ravel is most often confused with American photographer Henry Ravell. (1864-1930) Because the latter was also an artist, (known to have worked in watercolor) and the manner in which both signed their artworks, works in the marketplace, mostly paintings, are often misattributed as being by Ravell. As an example, this small oil painting showing two field workers harvesting wheat most likely done in the Italian countryside, is signed in the lower left corner in paint as H. Ravel. Alternatively, photographer Henry Ravell’s work is typically signed in graphite or colored pencil on his photographs (and his rare watercolor drawings) as H. Ravell, sometimes followed by Mex. signifying the work was taken in Mexico-usually gum prints.

The proof of identity for the artist Henry Ravel, and not Henry Ravell, reveals itself in the artist’s home address which was listed on the artist’s board verso of a variant of this study, titled The Ripers, (The Reapers) sold at a New York auction house in 2003.

A title most likely assigned by someone other than Ravel, it also appears in graphite by an unknown hand on the artist’s board verso as well as the frame backing paper of this variant study. The home address for the artist, which corresponds to his 1946 address, is listed on an immigration shipping manifest, who was sailing back from Naples, Italy to New York and is the same appearing on the back of a larger version of this work, which sold for $225.00 at the William Doyle auction house in New York City on July 17, 2003: lot #42. Work signed on the canvas on board recto: H. Ravel; verso  inscribed “The Ripers/ by Henry Ravel /19-21-23 Christopher St. / N.Y.C.


Artist Henry Etienne Ravel: 1872-1962

Born on December 26, 1872 in Naples Italy to French citizens, Henry Ravel immigrated to America, arriving at Ellis Island in New York Harbor on March 19, 1906. Living in New York with the occupation of transportation clerk, (1920 US Census) he eventually became a naturalized US citizen in 1920. Earlier in 1918, for his WW I draft registration, he lists his name as Henri Etienne Ravel, declaring himself a French citizen. His wife was named Elizabeth B. Ravel, born in Italy in 1881, and the couple had three children: Julia-  b. 1909, Pino?- b. 1911 and Charles- b. 1913-14.

Ravel died in New York at 90 years of age in October, 1962.

Almost nothing is known about the artist Henry Ravel, other than what appears in Census, Immigration and Military records previewed by this website on in January, 2019. There, it’s learned the artist took as many as ten trips back and forth to Naples, Italy from New York, with surviving examples of his paintings in the marketplace almost always showing Italian landscape and coastal scenes, and several done in the northeastern U.S. Interestingly, Henry Ravel’s listed employer in 1918 on his World War I draft registration is the steamship line Furness, Withy & Co. at 34 Whitehall St. in N.Y.

Links: Paintings by Henry Ravel

Thanksgiving in the Ramapo Mountains of New Jersey  (Unsold)

Coastal Village Scene  (Italy?)

Venetian Mediterranean Harbor Scene

Coastal Scene  (Capri, Italy)

Winter landscape and Nude  (Double Sided)

Naples Fish Market  (1937)

Coastal Italian Scene  (Mount Vesuvius)

Additional note: date of this work The Ripers assigned 1946 in keeping with known address of artist. Later shipping manifests list 23 Christopher St. as his address as late as 1954.

The Ripers (The Reapers)

Image Dimensions20.5 x 15.4 cm artists board

Support Dimensions24.5 x 19.4 x 2.0 cm wood frame