Beatrice Ruth Willard Biography

Beatrice Ruth Willard





Printmaker and painter Beatrice Willard Kirshenbaum (née Beatrice Ruth Willard) was born on 9 April 1908 to Leon and Fannie Muraski Willard in San Francisco, California. The Willards lived in the Orient during much of her childhood. Beatrice displayed an early aptitude for drawing and at the age of ten years her parents enrolled her in classes at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) where she studied under Gertrude Partington Albright. After graduating from high school, Willard attended Mills College, followed by the University of California Berkeley where she earned her BA in French in 1926. Her post graduate studies were at the CSFA between the years 1926 and 1930, where she was a student of artist Nelson Poole. She was a member of the San Francisco Women Artists, the San Francisco Art Association and the Society of Independent Artists.

The late 1920s proved to be her most active years as an artist, and, after her marriage to Nathan Kirshembaum 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 Organization for Rehabilitation through Training, a global organization that supported displaced Jews through the creation of vocational schools. Her obituary describes her as “a world traveler, she was also an enthusiastic member of many civic organizations, connoisseur of the arts, guardian of good grammar, and vigilant supporter of San Francisco’s architectural heritage.”

Beatrice Ruth Willard Kirshenbaum died in San Francisco on February 17, 1992.