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Oral history interview with Ruth Duckworth

Duckworth, Ruth, 1919-2009  Search this
Trapp, Kenneth R.  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Central School of Arts and Crafts (Birmingham, England)  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
University of Chicago -- Faculty  Search this
DeVore, Richard, 1933-2006  Search this
Larsen, Jack Lenor  Search this
Leach, Bernard, 1887-1979  Search this
McKinnell, James  Search this
McKinnell, Nan  Search this
Moore, Henry, 1898-1986  Search this
Rie, Lucie  Search this
Vergette, Nicholas, 1923-1974  Search this
Westphal, Alice  Search this
67 Pages (Transcript)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
2001 April 27
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Ruth Duckworth conducted 2001 April 27, 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.
Duckworth speaks of her early life and the time prior to her family leaving Germany; the decision to leave Germany in 1936 due to Hitler and the War; acclimating herself to England; attending Liverpool School of Art; WWII in England and the psychological effects of working in munitions factories; her nervous breakdown and seven years of therapy; her beginning to sculpt; her first exhibition of sculpture in London; her marriage and life with Aidron; difficulties in being an outsider in the world of art, specifically speaking about being a woman in sculpture; her first meeting with Lucie Rie; the devastation she felt after her brother died; attendance at the Hammersmith School of Art and not feeling her place there; switching to Central School of Arts and Crafts; her first job teaching ceramics at the Central School; learning the technique of glazing; visiting museums in London; how poetry nourished her during those early years, specifically the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke; the selling of her first pieces, "pieces that wouldn't sell"; the art scene in London; how the opportunity at the University of Chicago arose; her experience at the University of Chicago, an academic institution rather than a fine arts school; her first big show in the U.S. at the University in 1965; her graduate and undergraduate students; life as a foreigner in the U.S.; the opportunity to teach at the University of Iowa but becoming an associate professor at the University of Chicago instead; the cultural movement and ceramics movement in the U.S. during the 1960's; how her work changed from European influences to American influences; departments in art that were very unfriendly to women; her association with James and Nan McKinnell; her excursions and teaching trips across the U.S. as well as in Canada and Israel; her trip with Aidron across the U.S. and then their eventual separation; her friendship with Alice Westphal and the creation of the gallery Exhibit A; the unconscious changes in her work; her views on stoneware versus porcelain; Jack Lenor Larsen's summer show and the artists she met through that; her relationship with American museums versus European; unfortunate events at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; her continued feelings as an outsider but acceptance in later life as an artist, more so from the ceramic community than from the museum community; publications and catalogues of her work; the influences other artists have had upon her work; the limited use of color in her work; her collection of bones; her love of gardening; her sketches; the therapy coiling clay does for her; her projects at the moment; where she gets her ideas from; how she sees herself fitting in versus not fitting in; her speech at an international symposium in Amsterdam; what she would include in a retrospective of her artwork; her hopes to have her work be therapeutic to viewers and cause them to contemplate it; more thoughts on color; American culture; what matters most to her right now and that is saving the Earth; wishing to continue with her work and have a better relationship with museums. Ruth Duckworth recalls, Henry Moore, Bernard Leach, Nellie Barr, Virginia Ferrari, Hardy Schlick, Richard DeVore, Nicholas Vergette, Jane Goodall and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Ruth Duckworth (1919-2009) was a sculptor and clay artist from Chicago, Illinois. Kenneth Trapp (1943- ) is curator-in-charge at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery.
Originally recorded on 2 DAT tapes. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 29 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Ceramicists -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Sculptors -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women ceramicists  Search this
Women sculptors  Search this
Sound recordings
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
Online Media:

Richard De Vore : featuring the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Collection, the Cranbrook Art Museum Collection, Richard De Vore's last works / edited by Gregory Wittkopp with Emily Zilber

DeVore, Richard 1933-2006  Search this
Wittkopp, Gregory  Search this
Zilber, Emily  Search this
Frankel, Maxine  Search this
McGowan, Robert  Search this
Koplos, Janet  Search this
Wunderlich, Katherine  Search this
Kroloff, Reed  Search this
Cranbrook Art Museum  Search this
DeVore, Richard 1933-2006  Search this
Frankel, Maxine Art collections  Search this
Frankel, Stuart Art collections  Search this
Physical description:
120 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 26 cm
United States
Pottery, American  Search this
Potters  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

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