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Sold at Auction: Ruth Duckworth

Alias:Ruth WindmillerRuth Windmüller


Ruth Duckworth (April 10, 1919 – October 18, 2009) was a modernist sculptor who specialized in ceramics, she worked in stoneware, porcelain, and bronze. Her sculptures are mostly untitled. She is best known for Clouds over Lake Michigan, a wall sculpture.

Born Ruth Windmüller on April 10, 1919 in Hamburg, Germany, Ruth Duckworth took up drawing after a doctor recommended that she remain homebound to improve her health. She was the youngest of five children. Her oldest brother promised to watch over her for the rest of her life, but was later killed when his ship was sunk by a Japanese submarine.

The daughter of Ellen, a Lutheran, and Edgar, a Jewish lawyer, she left Germany to study at the Liverpool College of Art in 1936, as she could not study art in her home country under the restrictions imposed by Nazi Germany. She later studied at the Hammersmith School of Art and at the City and Guilds of London Art School, where she learned stone carving. Using these skills, she launched her sculptural career and began specializing in tombstone carvings. When she applied for art school, she was asked if she wanted to focus on drawing, painting, or sculpting. She insisted that she wanted to study all of them; after all, she replied, Michelangelo had done so.

She married the British artist Aidron Duckworth in 1949 and they later moved to the United States in 1964, where Ruth taught at the University of Chicago's Midway Studios and Aidron was a visiting professor of sculpture at the University of Illinois. The couple divorced in 1967

Duckworth died in Chicago at age 90 on October 19, 2009, at the Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care after a brief illness.
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