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 Ruth Pershing Uhler  (1895 - 1967)

About: Ruth Pershing Uhler


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Lived/Active: Texas/New Mexico      Known for: abstract southwest landscape, mural

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BIOGRAPHY for Ruth Uhler
1895 (Gordon, Pennsylvania)

Texas/New Mexico

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abstract southwest landscape, mural

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A Pennsylvania born artist known for murals and abstract Southwest landscapes in Art Nouveau style, Ruth Uhler studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. She had most of her career in Houston, Texas where she taught and was curator at the Museum School of Art.

However, from 1935 to 1956, Uhler was in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her Houston colleague Grace Spaulding John (1890-1972). Uhler and John had collaborated on murals in Houston including one for the City Hall. They also did ceiling decorations for the Nelson Atkins Gallery in Kansas City. In her mural work, Uhler created a sense of movement with birds and trees and animals that seemed to have energy.

Uhler was also very interested in Native American cultures, and in Santa Fe studied native arts and crafts. Her love of the New Mexico landscape transferred to her work in Houston, where she did paintings upon her return that reflected the special Southwest light. One of her paintings, "Earth Rhythms", (1936) depicted an Indian turquoise mine between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Patricia Trenton, "Independent Spirits"
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

Biography from Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum:
A Pennsylvania native, Ruth Uhler studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and with Jean Charlot, Leopold Seyffert, and with Henry B. Snell. She was a member of the Southern States Art League and the Houston Artists' Gallery (the first art co-op in Houston).

Uhler exhibited in the Fort Worth and Houston annuals (winning a purchase prize at the 1936 Houston annual) and in the 1940 Texas General. She also showed in the “Artists of Southeast Texas” exhibitions in the late 1930s and the Texas artists exhibition at Nashville in the late 1920s.

Probably frustrated with the lack of recognition for female artists, she later gave up painting and destroyed much of her work when she became curator of education at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her work was included in nationally touring exhibition “Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West” and one of her paintings, "Growth", was designated a national treasure under the Save America’s Treasure’s Program. Her paintings can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum at Canyon, Texas.

From the Dictionary of Texas Artists, 1800-1945, by Paula L. And Michael R. Grauer (Texas A & M University Press, 1999).

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