Ruth Grotenrath

Year inducted: 2007
1912-1988

In a Milwaukee Journal article of October 30th, 1966, Ruth quotes Pablo Picasso as saying, “The World is a marvelous spectacle…I do not seek, I find”. For her own early work she drew upon vital and broad 20th Century modern influences and for later work the sophisticated arts of Japan. Together with her artist husband, Schomer Lichtner, she was part of a generation’s movement away from the influences of the German academies in Wisconsin. Being part of the Social Realist movement of the 1930’s she had studied everyday people and places for her themes, sometimes creating monumental expressions like the mural from the Hudson, Wisconsin Post Office, now exhibited in the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Ruth attended Milwaukee State Teachers College, today known as the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and also taught at Layton School of Art. A trip to Japan in the 1960’s spurred her to paint images of everyday decorative household objects, employing oil and watermedia, gilt and silver leaf in her work. For many decades she produced and exhibited paintings, prints and textiles around the United States, winning many awards from venues ranging from the once important Wisconsin State Fair art building to the buildings of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. A quote from the “Wisconsin Architect Magazine” of January, 1967 states, “Ruth Grotenrath’s theme…is the celebration of sensuous loveliness in life and the world. Her paintings grow from awareness of beauty and readiness to be sculpted into joy…”

Works by Ruth Grotenrath