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Ruth Vollmer

Ruth Landshoff Vollmer

Ruth Vollmer (1903 - 1982 New York City), was a German artist born in Munich. She was born in 1903 and named Ruth Landshoff. Her father, Ludwig Landshoff, was a musicologist and conductor and her mother, Phillipine Landshoff, was an opera singer. Their family was Jewish. At age 19 she began to work as an artist and took the advice of her father to draw every day. She also had many connections to the teachers and students at the Bauhaus. In 1930 she married a pediatrician named Hermann Vollmer, whom she met in Berlin. Ruth and Hermann move from Germany to New York in 1935. Ruth begins work designing window displays for Bonwit Teller, Tiffany's, Lord & Taylor, and other department stores. Her displays experimented with wire, steel, and copper mesh to create figural forms. In 1943, Vollmer becomes a U.S. citizen. In 1944 she receives a commission from the Museum of Modern Art for its fifteenth anniversary exhibition, "Art in Progress." Vollumer continues to work with wire mesh and shows her work Composition in Space at the Museum of Modern Art's 1948 exhibition "Elements of Stage Design." In 1950, she was commissioned to create a mural for the lobby of 575 Madison, where Vollmer created a large wall relief that used wire rods and wire mesh to play with light, texture, and transparency. Vollumer visits Giacometti for a second time during the summer of 1951. During the 1950s she begins to works with clay as well. Additionally, in 1954 she begins to teach at the Children's Art Center at the Fieldston School in Riverdale and continued to teach until the mid-sixties. In 1960, Vollmer participates in the NYU discussion series "Artists on Art" with her friend Robert Motherwell. 1960 is an important year because she also has her first one-person exhibition at Betty Parson's Section Eleven gallery space. Throughout the 1960s Vollmer works with bronze and as well as showing at Betty Parson's gallery several times. In 1963, she joins the group American Abstract Artists (AAA) and includes her work in their exhibitions from 1963 on. By 1970 Vollmer's art is working with complex geometrical forms and mathematical concepts, particularly spirals and platonic solids. Sol LeWitt wrote a short essay on Vollmer's work for Studio International titled "Ruth Vollmer: Mathematical Forms." Vollmer protests the cancellation of the Hans Haacke at The Solomon R. Guggenheim exhibition by writing a letter to the director, Thomas Messer, in 1971. In 1976, she had a large one-person exhibition at the Neuberger Museum of Art. In 1982, Ruth Vollmer dies after a long battle with Alzheimer's. A majority of her large personal art collection of over one hundred sculptures, paintings, and drawings is donated to MoMA. Her art collection included works by Carl Andre, Mel Bochner, Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, Ad Reinhardt, Frank Stella, Agnes Martin, and Chryssa.

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Ruth Vollmer Artworks
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