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Ruth Duckworth papers, circa 1930-2010

Creator:
Duckworth, Ruth, 1919-2009  Search this
Subject:
Lauria, Jo  Search this
Burger, Thea  Search this
Type:
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Ruth Duckworth papers, circa 1930-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Women sculptors  Search this
Women ceramicists  Search this
Jewish artists  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Craft  Search this
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7603
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209765
AAA_collcode_duckruth
Theme:
Women
Craft
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209765

Ruth Duckworth papers

Creator:
Duckworth, Ruth, 1919-2009  Search this
Names:
Burger, Thea  Search this
Lauria, Jo  Search this
Extent:
4.7 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketchbooks
Date:
circa 1930-2010
Summary:
The papers of sculptor and ceramicist Ruth Duckworth measure 4.7 linear feet and date from circa 1930 to 2010. The collection comprises exhibition files for Ruth Duckworth: Modernist Sculptor, a multifaceted retrospective of Duckworth's life and work; professional files including business papers, writings, and correspondence regarding Duckworth's professional activities; printed materials recording Duckworth's career; artwork that includes sketches of ceramics, figure drawings, self portraits, and paper cutouts; and photographic materials of Duckworth, her artwork and studio, travel in Europe and Japan, and personal snapshots.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of sculptor and ceramicist Ruth Duckworth measure 4.7 linear feet and date from circa 1930 to 2010. The collection documents Duckworth's career through exhibition files, professional files, printed materials, artwork, and photographs.

Exhibition files are for Ruth Duckworth: Modernist Sculptor, a multifaceted retrospective of Duckworth's life and work organized by her agent Thea Burger and curator Jo Lauria. Professional files consist of business papers, writings, correspondence regarding Duckworth's professional activities, and files containing Burger's speech delivered at Duckworth's memorial service and sympathy letters received after Duckworth's death. Printed material consists of clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and a few miscellaneous items. Duckworth's artwork includes sketches of ceramics, figure drawings, self portraits, and paper cutouts. Photographic materials picture Duckworth, her artwork and studio, and travel in Europe and Japan, and include personal snapshots.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 5 series.

Series 1: -- Ruth Duckworth: Modernist Sculptor -- Exhibition Files, 1996-circa 2005 (1.0 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Professional Files, circa 1970-2009 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 2, 6)

Series 3: Printed Materials, circa 1970-2010 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 4: Artwork, circa 1935-circa 1985 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 5: Photographic Materials, circa 1930-circa 2005 (2.8 linear feet; Boxes 3-6)
Biographical / Historical:
Ruth Duckworth (1919-2009) was a sculptor and ceramicist in Chicago, Illinois, known for abstract modernist forms that were heavily inspired by the natural world.

Duckworth was born Ruth Windmüller in Hamburg, Germany, as the youngest of five children. As a child, Duckworth was often sick and would draw in bed as a way to pass the time. It became evident that she had talent as an artist, but under the Nazi regime in Germany, Duckworth was unable to attend art school because her father was Jewish.

In 1936 she left Germany as a refugee to live in Liverpool, England, with her sister. She attended the Liverpool School of Art from 1936 to 1940. She then moved to Manchester where she began making puppets until she took work in a munitions factory to support the war effort. Around 1942, Duckworth moved to London with friends she had made at the factory. There she met and married artist Aidron Duckworth in 1949. She also became acquainted with other sculptors, including Lucie Rie and Henry Moore, who encouraged her to pursue sculpture.

Duckworth attended Hammersmith Art School, then taught at the Central School of Art and Craft from 1959 to 1964 before taking a teaching position at the University of Chicago in 1964. After feeling that her career had been slow to develop she enjoyed breakthroughs in the late 1960s and 1970s with the commissions Earth, Water, and Sky, for the University of Chicago Geophysical Science Building, and Clouds Over Lake Michigan for Dresdner Bank in Chicago. Duckworth and Aidron divorced in 1967.

In 1981 Duckworth met Thea Burger, while working on a commission for one of Burger's clients. The two realized they could both benefit from a working relationship where Burger worked as Duckworth's agent taking care of the business aspects of the sculptor's career while Duckworth focused solely on her artwork.

Burger organized Ruth Duckworth: Modernist Sculptor, a multifaceted retrospective of Duckworth's life and work, with curator Jo Lauria in 2005. A catalog that included written contributions by Tony Birks, Martin Puryear, and Jo Lauria and a short film titled, Ruth Duckworth: My Life in Clay, were created to accompany the retrospective. The exhibition opened in January 2005 at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Over the course of two years the exhibition traveled to the Chicago Cultural Center, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, Hoffman Gallery at Lewis and Clark University, Long Beach Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution's Renwick Gallery.

Duckworth had intended to return to the United Kingdom later in life but continued living in her Chicago home and studio until she died in 2009.
Related Materials:
Also in the Archives of American Art is an interview with Ruth Duckworth conducted on April 27, 2001 by Kenneth R. Trapp for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America at the studios of Smithsonian Productions, Washington, D.C.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming on Reel 1397 including biographical information, photographs, twelve silhouette cutouts, a scrapbook of clippings, and loose printed material. Loaned materials returned to the donor that were not subsequently donated are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
The Ruth Duckworth papers were donated in 2015 by Thea Berger, Duckworth's agent. A portion of this material had been lent for microfilming in 1977 by Ruth Duckworth. Additional contact sheets and negatives of Duckworth were donated in 2020 by photographer Cal Kowal.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.

Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Sculptors -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Women sculptors  Search this
Women ceramicists  Search this
Jewish artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Ruth Duckworth papers, circa 1930-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.duckruth
See more items in:
Ruth Duckworth papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9bc1b12ca-50d1-4d66-b62f-9a1abf3a8deb
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-duckruth
Online Media:

Burger, Thea

Collection Creator:
Jamison Thomas Gallery  Search this
Container:
Box 6, Folder 31
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1992
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is available in the Archives' Washington, D.C. research facility. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Collection Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Jamison Thomas Gallery records, 1940-1996, bulk 1980-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Jamison Thomas Gallery Records
Jamison Thomas Gallery Records / Series 2: Client and Collector Files / 2.2: Individuals
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw938a55b26-3c8a-46cd-bba7-c46ffdcc48d4
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-jamithog-ref208

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