Ruth Laird

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Ruth Laird

Ruth Laird  (American, 1921-2007)

 

Emily Ruth Laird was born in Houston in 1921. She attended Houston Schools: Woodrow Wilson Elementary, Sidney Lanier Junior High School, and Lamar Senior High, graduating in 1940. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. For several years, she taught Ceramics at the University of Houston, the University of St. Thomas, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.  Throughout her career, Laird exhibited in museums throughout the United States, including: Cranbrook Academy Art; Beaumont Art Museum; Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art; among others.  Among numerous awards, Laird received a grant from the Texas Swedish Cultural Foundation in 1955, Honorable Mention in the 17th Ceramic National, Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, and the Iroquois China Award, Syracuse Invitational International Exhibition, 1958.

 

Laird is best known for her minimalistic, surrealistic ceramics. These abstract and clean-lined ceramic sculptures contain personal symbolism related to her religious experiences practicing Catholicism. Some of her early works are inspired by forms found in nature, such as birds and onions. She began creating pottery and ceramics professionally in the 1940s. From the late 1950s-1970s, these works were sold commercially through Handmakers, a shop featuring works by local Houston artists. Laird was an original member of this group, along with artists Stella Sullivan and Frank Dolejska. She was a member of the Texas Fine Arts Association and the Texas Designer-Craftsmen. Throughout her career, Laird produced several large-scale commissions, including: 1960, fountain, New Harmony, IN; 1962, baptismal font, St. Basil's Church, Angelton, TX; and 1962-73, several altar pieces, Chapel at Rice University, Houston, TX.

 

Today, Laird’s ceramics can be found in numerous private and museum permanent collections, including: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY; Contemporary Crafts Museum, New York, NY; Children's Museum, Detroit, MI; Cranbrook Museum, Bloomfield, MI; Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX; among others. 

 

 

Biographical & Career Highlights: 

1921          Born in Houston, TX 

1940          Graduated from Lamar High School, Houston, TX

1941-42     Attended the University of Texas, Austin, TX 

1953-55     Attended Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield, MI

1955          Received a grant from the Texas Swedish Cultural Foundation

1955-58     Served as an art instructor at University of Houston, TX

1956-58     Served as an art instructor at St. Thomas University, Houston, TX

1958-68     Served as an art instructor and assistant dean at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

2007          Died in Corpus Christi, TX

 

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

1954          Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield, MI

1957          University of Houston, TX

1958          Beaumont Art Museum, Beaumont, TX

1960          Rice University Gallery, Houston, TX

1970          Laguna Gloria Museum, Austin, TX 

 

Selected Group Exhibitions:

1951          26th Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1951          Third Annual Texas Crafts Exhibition, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

1952          Texas Fine Arts Association

1952          27th Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1952          Fourth Annual Texas Crafts Exhibition, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

1953          28th Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1953          Fifth Annual Texas Crafts Exhibition, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

1954          29th Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1955          30th Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1955          Seventh Annual Texas Crafts Exhibition, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (catalog cover)

1955          31st Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1956          Exhibition with Hannah Stewart, Beaumont Art Museum, Beaumont, TX

1957          32nd Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1957          International Invitational Exhibition, Syracuse Museum, Syracuse, NY (Purchase Award)

1957          Ninth Annual Texas Crafts Exhibition, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

1958          Tenth Annual Texas Crafts Exhibition, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

1958          Seventeenth Ceramic National, Syracuse Museum, Syracuse, NY (honorable mention)

1958          33rd Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1958          Invitational International Exhibition, Syracuse Museum, Syracuse, NY (Iroquois China Award)

1959          34th Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1960          35th Annual Exhibition of Works by Houston Artists, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1961          Thirteenth Annual Texas Crafts Exhibition, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

1962          Museum School Faculty Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

1962          Sixth Annual Texas Designer / Craftsman Exhibition, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

1962          Twenty-Second Ceramic National Exhibition: A Survey of Contemporary Ceramics of the United States and Canada, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY (honorable mention)

1963          Craftsmen of the Central States Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY

1964          The Crafts and Worship Exhibition, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

1968          Southwest Craftsmen, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX

 

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