Ruth Schloss

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Ruth Schloss
Ruth Schloss
1922, Nuremberg, Germany
Kfar Shmaryahu
graphic artist, illustrator, painter
A social realist artist who documented those living on the margins of society.

Ruth Schloss was born in 1922 in Germany and studied art at the Bezalel Academy. A social realist artist she wasn’t always appreciated by the establishment. Her recent work depicting old age is some of her most powerful.


[edit] Background

Ruth Schloss was born in Germany in 1922 and emigrated to Israel with her parents in 1937. She studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem, majoring in graphics in 1942. After graduating Ruth Schloss helped to found Kibbutz Merhavia and later joined Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, where she lived with her husband until 1953. Due to political differences Schloss was left the Kibbutz and moved to family property in Kfar Shmaryahu, Herzliya, which at that time was an agricultural settlement.

[edit] Training and Work

In 1946 Ruth Schloss went to the Kibbutz Haartzi’s painting course and held her first exhibition a year later at the Mikra Studio in Tel Aviv. As an illustrator and graphic artist, Schloss worked as an illustrator for children’s books and magazines at the Sifriat Poalim publishing house. She then went to Paris in 1949 and studied Cubism at the Grande Chaumiere returning to Israel in 1951. However Schloss’s main interest was in social realism.

As social realism went out of fashion, Ruth Schloss’s art wasn’t appreciated, especially as her political views didn’t match those of the art establishment. Throughout the 50’s Schloss’s work showed her concern for the human condition and reflected the difficult living conditions of Israel's new immigrants. Although she hardly exhibited, Schloss painted and drew every day, even while she was bringing up her children.

For twenty years from 1963 – 83 Ruth Schloss had a studio in Jaffa where she not only drew portraits of the people in the area, but invited mothers and their children to come to her studio and play. This enabled her to paint and draw them with ease. Ruth Schloss’ art concentrated on the disadvantaged and marginalized in society, both Israeli and Arab. After 1983 she moved her studio back to Kfar Shmaryahu, where she still lives.

[edit] Style and Technique

As Ruth Schloss grew older it became more and more difficult for her to paint and draw in the conventional manner and she developed various techniques to overcome this. Using charcoal on canvas and drawing with both hands, was one technique, another Schloss developed was using acrylic paints on film paper. In many of her larger political paintings, Schloss created mixed media pieces by incorporating press cuttings into her work. Continuing to act as a voice for the unnoticed of society, Ruth Schloss began to document old age, especially the everyday difficulties and humiliations of life for the elderly. Based on life and photos, this work is not always easy to look at. At over 90, Ruth Schloss succumbed to the physical limitations of her body and stopped working.

[edit] Legacy

Ruth Schloss’s last exhibition called "First and Last Works" at the Zaritsky Artists House in Tel Aviv in 2012, showed art from her early and late period. As artistic and political fashion has changed, Ruth Schloss’s art is now more accepted and there have been various retrospectives of her work. Aside from having her work displayed in the Israel Museum, there is a documentary biographical film of Ruth Schloss’s life ‘Against the Stream’ by Peter Dudzig. Her work can be seen in galleries, museums and online.

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