Monday, June 23, 2014

Modern Print Monday: Ruth Reeves

Ruth Reeves, Overlooking Kingston

Ruth Marie Reeves (1892-1966), New York
From the Index of American Design.
Reeves is touching up a silk screen, which may be her Circus-themed
tapestry for Radio City Music Hall

Ruth Reeves, Still Life with Violins carpet for foyer in Radio City Music Hall, 1932

About six months ago I attributed the above carpet pattern to Radio City's architect Donald Deskey, but in reading about Ruth Reeves I see the design was hers.

Ruth Reeves, Figures with Still Life, textile

Reeves was born in Redlands, California, and studied at the Art Institute in San Francisco and Pratt Institute in New York. In the 1920s she lived in Paris, taking classes at the Académie Moderne with Fernard Léger whose cubist vision had a lifelong influence on her work.

Fernand Leger, Three Women with Flowers, 1920

Reeves was more of a fine-artist than a commercial artist, producing hand-printed textiles and only occasionally working with a fabric company to design a commercial collection (apparently never very commercial.)

Ruth Reeves, Electric, block-printed coverlet in the collection of Yale University, 1930.

Ruth Reeves, Homage to Emily Dickinson

Ruth Reeves, Green Pasture

Reeves was particularly interested in folk arts and studied the arts of the Americas and India. With Romana Javitts she founded the Index of American Design, the documentary arm of the Federal Art Project during the Great Depression. In 1956 she moved to India where she spent her last decade.

This screen is attributed to Reeves due to the resemblance
to the Radio City carpet.

See my post on Radio City Music Hall here:

Ruth Reeves, The Circus for Morley, Fletcher,
collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

See another Reeves design at their blog here:

And here's a small Flickr collection:

Read an online essay by Whitney Blausen:

The Cooper-Hewitt Museum attributes this repeat
print to Reeves.


  1. Wow! Such dynamic designs. Thanks.

  2. As one of her granddaughters, and having been so young when she was alive, I truly appreciate the work and the information provided here. Some of these I have not seen.