Ruth Cyril Biography

Ruth Cyril




Ruth Cyril, printmaker, designer, painter and craftsperson, was born Ruth Goldfarb in New York on July 7, 1938. She studied at the Greenwich House Art School, the School of Contemporary Art (an as yet unverified institution where she took classes in jewelry making), New York University, the New School for Social Research, and the Art Students’ League where she studied under Vaclav Vytlacil, Nathaniel Dirk and Hans Hoffman. According to Christina Weyl in The Women of Atelier 17 (Yale University Press, 2019), around the end of her formal schooling Ruth changed her last name from Goldfarb to Cyril, eventually signing her works simply "Cyril."

In 1947 she began taking classes in etching and engraving at Atelier 17 with Stanley William Hayter in New York, and applied some of her jewelry making techniques to her plates, which produced a three-dimensional effect on the surface of the sheet (Weyl, p. 221). Cyril continued her studies in Paris beginning in 1950, both at Atelier 17 in Paris and at Paris Imprimeurs, and in 1957 received a Fulbright fellowship to study at the Sorbonne. She was a member of the La Guilde de la Gravure, Paris and the Society of American Graphic Artists.

Cyril’s career can be tracked with some certainty through 1963. Among her shows was a traveling exhibtion in 1959 that toured various major museums, and in 1963 she was awarded a solo show at the Smithsonian Institution's Division of Graphic Arts. Solo exhibitions were mounted at La Guilde de la Gravure, Brooks Memorial Museum, McNay Art Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, Grosvenor Gallery, and Corning Glass Museum (among others). Her work is in the collections of the Massillon Museum, Smithsonian Institute, Library of Congress, Corning Glass Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, McNay Art Institute, Brooks Memorial Museum and many others.

Despite a prolific and important career that furthered the study of experimental printmaking in the U.S., there is no reliable date of death for Cyril, though it is often listed as December of 1988.