Skip to content


Ruth Duckworth (1919-2009)

A Jewish-German emigrant who was educated in England but established her career in New York City, Ruth Duckworth is not easily categorized because her artwork runs a gamut of materials and subjects, which are mostly abstracted.  Among her creations are figurative bronzes, porcelain vessels, ceramic wall reliefs, abstract alabaster forms, and rough stoneware.

She enrolled in the Liverpool School of Art in England when she was age 17 and studied sculpture there from 1936 to 1940.  English sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore were influential on her work.

In the mid 1950s, following the advice of potter Lucie Rie, she went back to school and attended the Central College in London.  She was immediately taken with the experimental atmosphere of ceramic potters, which was focused on abstaction rather than functionality.

Her early work was expressive, primeval forms and was mostly done with the coil method.  She gained attention but left England in 1964 to teach in Chicago for a year.  Leaving with her and having ongoing influence was Hans Coper, Britain's


leading post-war potter.  In Chicago, she firmed her modernist inclinations, and created many bone white porcelain vessels that were purely art objects and lacking functionality.

As her work evolved in America, she has returned somewhat to figuration and creates larger-than-life bronze figures, but also continues to do smaller abstract sculptures from clay.  In January 2005, an exhibition of her work opened at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

Source: -
Julian Stair, "Duckworth's Volumes and Planes", Art in America, December 2005, pp. 128-129.