Ruth A. Wall Biography

Ruth A. Wall




Ruth A. Wall, painter and printmaker, was born in Wyoming on 10 September 1917. In 1919, her family moved to a homestead on an Indian reservation in Uintah, Utah where she was raised and later worked as a field hand during the Depression. After graduating from high school, Wall enrolled in Brigham Young University where she was a member of the theatrical Mask Club. At Brigham Young she majored in speech and minored in physical education. Upon graduating in 1938, Wall began teaching high school.

With the onset of World War II, Wall moved to Los Angeles. She took an engineering course and then worked as an Army materiel inspector throughout Los Angeles County. She enlisted on 7 September 1944 and joined the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Wall had hopes of becoming a pilot but at the time women were banned from combat. Instead she became a ferrier, flying various planes from manufacturing plants to training fields.

Upon her discharge in 1949, Wall moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She enrolled in the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) in 1950 under the G.I. Bill. Wall studied under James Budd Dixon and Robert McChesney. The body of her work in printmaking consists of gestural Abstract Expressionist lithographs created in 1952 and printed at night on the CSFA press.

In 1952, Wall departed for Paris where she studied painting at the Académie Frochot. While in Paris, her work was exhibited in group shows at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Salon des Realities Nouvelles, and Galerie Huit.

Returning to the CSFA in 1955, renamed the San Francisco Art Institute, Wall continued her studies under Nathan Oliveira and Elmer Bischoff. She devoted her time to art before a desire to travel required her to work full time. Wall lived in North Beach, the famed San Francisco artistic community for fifty-five years. Over the years, Wall participated in various exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The book, Love of the Stone: Ruth A. Wall Abstract Expressionists Prints was published in 2007 to accompany the retrospective exhibition of the same title at the Art Exchange Gallery in San Francisco. Her work was included in the exhibition The Long View California Women of Abstract Expressionism 1945-1965 held at Modern Art West in Sonoma, California.

Wall’s work is held in the collections of the following California museums: the Monterey Museum of Art; the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; the San José Museum of Art; and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Ruth A. Wall died on 14 December 2009 in Vernal, Utah.