Ruth Eckstein Biography

Ruth Eckstein



Ruth Eckstein was born in Nuremberg, Germany on May 11, 1916. As a teenager she worked in her father’s fabric store and then took an early interest in art. Around 1930 she met George (Gunther) Eckstein, a friend of her brother Gus, who worked in a family toy business. George was active in left-leaning political activities, and in 1933, the Nazis arrested him and he spent several months in jail. After his release, he fled to Switzerland and then to Paris; Ruth joined him there in 1934. Ruth and George lived in Paris for five years, where they married and were active members of the German refugee community, working as toy makers producing stuffed dolls. It was in Paris that their first daughter, Margaret, was born. In 1939, fearing a Nazi invasion, George and Ruth left Paris for New York City.

Eckstein continued her painting studies in New York, taking classes at the Museum of Modern Art, and with Stuart Davis at The New School for Social Research. With the encouragement of Harry Sternberg, her teacher at the Long Island North Shore Community Art Center, Ms. Eckstein enrolled at the Art Students League in New York, where she immersed herself in printmaking techniques as well as painting and drawing. She studied with Sternberg, Julian Levi and V. Vytlacil. Later, intrigued by the woodcut technique of printmaker Seong Moy, Eckstein studied with him at the Pratt Graphic Art Center, also studying etching techniques with Roberto DeLamonica.

Eckstein's work evolved through her printmaking and related painting and collage, to achieve a majestic tranquility, through pared down compositions and subtle modulations of color and shape. Beginning in the 1960s George and Ruth traveled extensively throughout the Far East, Europe, and South and Cental America, the influences of which showed in Ruth's subsequent work.

The Ecksteins eventually reloacted from Manhattan to to Manhasset, New York and then Great Neck, NY. George died in 1995 and in 2003, Ruth moved to Newton, Massachusetts, to be close to her daughter and her family. She lived in Lasell Village, where she took courses, and continued with her art. No longer with room for her own studio, she took up a new medium that required less space: ceramics.

Ruth Eckstein died in Newton, Massachusetts on November 23, 2011.

Ruth Eckstein’s work is represented in over fifty prestigious public collections, including the Biblioteca, Galleria D’Arte Moderne, in Rome, Italy; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France; the Boston Public Library, the British Museum, London, England, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. and many others, as well as numerous corporate and private collections.