Beatrice Ruth Willard Biography

Beatrice Ruth Willard




Printmaker and painter Beatrice Willard Kirshenbaum was born Beatrice Ruth Willard on April 9, 1908, in San Francisco, CA, to Leon and Fannie (Muraski) Willard. Showing an early aptitude for drawing, her parents enrolled her in classes at the California School of Fine Art (CSFA, now the San Francisco Art Institute) at the age of ten. There, she studied under Gertrude Albright. After graduating from high school she attended Mills College, followed by the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned her BA in French in 1926. From there she returned to the CSFA from 1926 to 1930, studying with artist Horacio Nelson Poole, among others. She exhibited regularly with the San Francisco Women Artists and the San Francisco Art Association.

The 1920s proved to be her most active decade as an artist, and, after her marriage in 1930, she changed careers. She eventually worked as a narrator of books for the blind and became a board member for the American Women's ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training), a global organization that supported displaced Jews through the creation of vocational schools. She died in San Francisco on February 17, 1992.