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  Sister Mary Rufinia  (1885 - 1959)

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Lived/Active: Indiana / Germany      Known for: landscape and still-life paintings, art education

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AskART Artist
An example of work by Sister Mary Rufinia
Courtesy of the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Sister Mary Rufinia (1885-1959).

"Sister Mary Rufinia was a Lafayette artist who began painting in the 1920's.  Born in Germany in 1885, Sister Mary Rufinia was a Catholic nun who launched her nursing career in St. Elizabeth Hospital (Lafayette) in 1906.  Crippled too severely in an accident to continue nursing, she became involved as an artist and an art teacher in 1920. 

She studied at the Academy of Art in Berlin, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Duchene College. 

In the 1930's, she opened a studio at St. Francis High School near the hospital and taught watercolor, pottery and sculpture.  In an essay titled: "Reveries of an Artist" she wrote: 'For me, an artist, one of the greatest happiness's this world can offer is to behold the beauty of creation.  In each tree, sunrise, sunset, ocean, mountain, landscape, and garden, my soul overflows with gratitude to the Supreme Maker.' 

She died in 1959."

Lafayette, Indiana Journal and Courier. Date unknown

Submitted by Edward Bentley, researcher from Lansing, Michigan

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sister Mary Rufinia was born in Kahlschlade, Rhineland in 1881. She emigrated from Germany to Lafayette, IN to begin work at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in 1906. Due to an injury, she stopped working as a nurse and began to teach instead. She returned to school to study art. Over the course of her lifetime, she earned two art degrees and studied at ten different institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Wayman Adams Old Mill Art School in New York, and the Cleveland School of Art.

Sister Mary worked in oil and watercolor, oftentimes choosing floral still lifes and religious scenes for her subjects. Her work was widely exhibited throughout Indiana, and she won numerous awards at the annual Hoosier Salon. She is probably best known as an art educator in Lafayette. She opened a studio at St. Francis High School in Lafayette and taught art classes as well as private classes. She often wrote articles for School Arts Magazine.

Skirting the Issue, by Newton and Weiss

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