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 Ruth Cravath  (1902 - 1986)

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Lived/Active: California/Illinois      Known for: sculptor, mosaic, drawing

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Ruth Wakefield is primarily known as Ruth Cravath

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Ad Code: 4
Ruth Cravath
Rincon California
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Ruth Cravath is known for her civic sculptures, busts and bas-reliefs. She was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1902. Her father played the flute and her mother played the violin and the cello. Cravath attended public high school in Chicago and took summer classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. She went on to attend college at Grinnell, Iowa, for one year before returning to Chicago where she enrolled in drawing and design classes. Her parents moved to California in 1921 and Cravath followed soon after. She studied for the next three years at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco where she received praise for her student artwork. She learned sculpting techniques from Beniamino Bufano and Ralph Stackpole. By 1926 she was an established artist and was invited to conduct art classes of her own at the California School of Fine Arts. Her work was exhibited in the 1927 Annual Exhibit of the San Francisco Society of Women Artists. She married Sam Bell Wakefield III in 1928 and continued to teach sculpture at the CSFA and later at Mills College in Oakland in 1945. As a teacher and an artist she became famous for her use of the direct cut method of sculpting, carving and chiseling without mechanical assistance. She was an active exhibitor at the San Francisco Art Association between 1922 and 1932 and also exhibited at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor (1933) and the San Francisco Museum of Art (1937). In 1937 she was appointed to the board of the Art Commission of San Francisco. She was commissioned to do three large figures for the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco in 1939. Cravath died in a nursing home in Paulsbo, Washington in 1986.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Chicago, IL on Jan. 23, 1902. While in high school Cravath enrolled at the AIC summer sessions and then attended college at Grinell, IA. Her family had moved to San Francisco, and in 1921 she followed. Upon arrival she enrolled at the CSFA where she studied under Stackpole and Bufano. In 1928 she wed banker Sam Bell Wakefield III, but retained her maiden name for her art career. By 1926 she was invited to teach sculpture at CSFA and later taught in Oakland at Mills College during summer sessions of 1945-46 and at Dominican College in San Rafael, 1943-49. In 1937 she was appointed to the board of the San Francisco Art Ass'n and served on the San Francisco Municipal Art Commission from 1937-42. She was commissioned to do three pieces of sculpture for the Court of the Pacific at the GGIE in 1939. An exponent of both traditional and modern art, she is best known for her garden and civic sculpture, portrait busts, and bas reliefs. Cravath also painted in watercolor, pastel, and oil. Her last years were spent in a nursing home in Poulsbo, WA where she died on Dec. 1, 1986. Member: SFAA; SF Women Artists (pres., 1943-44). In: SF City Hall (Mayor Rossi); Three Com Park, SF (St Francis); Hanna Boys Center, Sonoma; First Unitarian Church of SF (Starr King); IBM Plant, San Jose (Timeless Family); SF City Club (Bar Maid relief); SFMA.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family; American Women Artists (Rubenstein); California Art Research, 20 volumes; Art of Treasure Island; American Art Annual 1933; 100 Years of Calif. Sculpture; Who's Who in American Art 1936-62; SF Chronicle, 12-2-1986 (obituary).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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