Rudolph Ruzicka Biography

Rudolph Ruzicka




Rudolph Ruzicka (1883–1978), painter, wood engraver, etcher, illustrator, designer, and typeface designer, was born in Bohemia on 29 June 1883. His family immigrated to the United States in 1894, settling in Chicago. Ruzicka took drawing lessons at the Hull House School and then apprenticed as a wood engraver. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago between 1900 and 1902. The following year Ruzicka moved to New York City where he found employment at the American Bank Note Company. He continued his education with classes at the Art Students’ League and the New York School of Art.

In 1917, a traveling exhibition of Ruzicka’s wood engravings was featured at the Newark Public Library. Later in his career solo exhibitions of his work were mounted at the Grolier Club, the Century Association, and the Gallery of the Architectural League of New York.

As an illustrator, his wood engravings highlighted the Grolier Club edition of Washington Irving’s Notes and Journal of Travel in Europe, the Lakeside Press edition of David Henry Thoreau’s Walden, and the Overbrook Press edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince and Other Tales. He collaborated with Philip Hofer on a number of projects, including a series of engravings for Harvard University and the University's diploma designs. Ruzicka also collaborated with D. B. Updike providing illustrations for the book, Newark, and with Walter Muir Whitehill for the book, Boston.

Ruzicka worked for fifty years for the Mergenthaler Linotype Company as a designer and consultant in typographical development and produced a number of typeface families. In 1935, Ruzicka won the prestigious Medal from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, which is awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements, services, or other contributions to the field of design and visual communication.

His work is the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Worcester Art Museum, and numerous university and public libraries.

Rudolph Ruzicka died on 20 July 1978 in Hanover, New Hampshire.