At first, Yevgraf R., Reitern devoted himself to military service, which was not surprising in the years of large and small military campaigns of Napoleon in Europe in the first decade of the nineteenth century. However, twenty years Reiterna Yevgraf, who was by that time a Lieutenant Colonel, possessed a passionate desire to become an artist. Painting he dedicated later a considerable part of his life. Ye. R. Reitern, portraits, icons, everyday scenes. In 1835, for the work "Portrait of Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky" and two paintings of family life, the artist was awarded the title of "appointed" in academics. He soon gets and appreciate and brings certain advantages the title of academician.
Comes from a noble Baltic family. Received a General education in school at the Lutheran Church of saints Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg, during the year he attended lectures in the University of Dorpat in 1811 he entered the military service. In 1813-1815 year was in the cavalry with the rank of Lieutenant, participated in the Foreign campaign of the Russian army; in the battle of the Nations near Leipzig lost his right arm. In the summer of 1814, being in Weimar, Reitern met Goethe; renewing acquaintance in 1815 in Heidelberg and in 1817 in Jena, joined with him in conversation. Goethe recognized from Reitern the artist's talent and advised him to paint seriously.
After recovering from severe wounds, Reitern settled in Willingshausen, in 1820 married Charlotte von Swartzell. In 1825 along with Ludwig Grimm (brother of celebrated philologists Jacob and Wilhelm) founded the "Willershausen a colony of artists". For some time he worked as a self-taught artist, he studied painting in Bern, Kassel and düsseldorf; wrote mainly genre paintings. In 1837 he became court painter to the Russian Imperial court, received an honorable retirement; he was creating paintings on biblical subjects, of which a particular success was the painting "Abraham brings Isaac to sacrifice" (1849). Alternately lived in Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Russia (arriving in his own Livonian estate and Saint Petersburg), 1844, he finally settled in Frankfurt-on-main. Worked, as needed, with the left hand.
Reitern, was a close friend of V. A. Zhukovsky, who in 1841 married his daughter Elizabeth (1821-1856). His granddaughter Zhukovskaya, Alexandra will be the morganatic wife of Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich.
Son ye. R. Reitern, A. G., Reitern was Lieutenant-General and Governor of Tauride. Brother Christopher, with honors, participated in the Napoleonic wars, then commanded cavalry divisions. Nephew Michael was the Finance Minister of the Russian Empire.