September 29, 2018 – April 13, 2019
In 2005 Spencer Helfen Fine Arts was proud to present our first exhibition devoted to women artists, entitled California Women Modernists: At the Forefront of American Modernism.
Over thirteen years later we now are proud to present California Women Artists of the Modern Period, a survey of art created from 1915 to 1954, featuring many artists never before exhibited by our Gallery.
A large number of these recently acquired artworks are illustrated in Maurine St. Gaudens’s four-volume book, Emerging from the Shadows: A Survey of Women Artists Working in California, 1860-1960 (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2015).
This exhibition coincides with, and includes some of the same artists as, the Pasadena Museum of History’s major exhibition Something Revealed; California Women Artists Emerge, 1860 – 1960.
Ruth Cravath was a student of Ralph Stackpole, the dean of California sculpture during the Modern period. Cravath learned to create sculpture utilizing the “direct cut” carving method adopted by Stackpole – cutting directly into the stone or other natural material. One of California’s most important woman sculptors, Ruth Cravath created works that are recognized for their sense of proportion, direct simplicity, spontaneity of expression, and harmony of line. Security, created in 1941, depicts a mother embracing her child with her right arm and holding a milk can with her left hand. On the reverse the artist has depicted a fresh stalk of corn. These elements together represent the “security” and abundance this strong woman and mother has provided for her child, family and community.