Sigisbert Chretien Bosch Reitz was born on 30 February 1860 in Amsterdam. Originally he was trained for a career in commerce, but at the age of 23 he decided he wanted to be a painter.
His wanderlust and preference for painting in the open air brought him to various European artists villages such as Pont-Aven, also visited by Gauguin in 1886, and St. Ives, important to the English artscene. Around 1900 he visited the distant country of Japan, an almost mandatory journey for European artists in the fin-de-siecle. For a year he thoroughly studied porcelain, drawings and woodcuts.
After his return in Laren in 1901, Bosch Reitz developed his knowledge on Asian Art and subsequently was appointed as the first curator of the Department of Far Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1915, where he remanained until 1927. As a curator he made important purchases for the museum as well as for the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington and the Museum of fine Arts in Boston.
In 1928 Bosch Reitz returned to the Netherlands where he lived until his death in 1938. After his death all the paintings and his collection of historical costumes, Japanese prints and porcelain was left to his family.