Any visitor to the Art, Music and Recreation Department at the Central Library has walked by the colorful artwork of Ruth Grotenrath. The paintings were donated by her husband Schomer Lichtner, whose work also graces the entrance hallway.
Ruth Grotenrath was born in Milwaukee in 1912 and was interested in being an artist as early as her days at Riverside High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Milwaukee State Teachers College in 1933 where she was fortunate to be instructed by important Wisconsin artists Gustave Moeller, Robert von Neumann and Elsa Ulbricht. After Ruth and Schomer married in 1934 they became employed by the Works Progress Administration and as one of her assignments she painted 3 post office murals in the Midwest.
Over the years Ruth's style evolved from American Regionalist to more colorful and abstract work of still lifes, flowers and nature that was influenced by a trip she took to Japan in the 1960s. She taught at the Layton School of Art as well as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and even produced and sold her own designs of silkscreen printed drapery fabric at the Wisconsin State Fair. She was successful and unique in a profession that was often dominated by men during the mid 20th century.
If you are interested in learning more about Ruth Grotenrath and Schomer Lichtner, save the date of Saturday, October 18th for a program presented by Graeme Reid of the Museum of Wisconsin art from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room. Paintings, drawings, artists books and other ephemera of their work will be displayed.
Pat @ Central