Ruth Reeves

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Ruth Reeves, with an assistant, 1939.

Ruth Marie Reeves (1892 - December 23, 1966) was a painter, Art Deco textile designer and expert on Indian handicrafts[1]


She attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn from 1910–11, and won an Art Students League's scholarship in 1913. In 1920, she travelled to Paris and studied with Fernand Léger.

Returning to the United States in 1927, her designs were influenced by modern developments in France like Cubism.[2]Lewis Mumford called her wall hangings and dresses inspired by traditional Guatemalan designs shown in 1935 "probably the most interesting work any designer has offered for commercial production today."[3]

One of her best-known works was the carpeting and wall fabrics of Radio City Music Hall in New York. The Index of American Design, one of three main divisions of the Federal Art Project was originally conceived by Reeves and Romana Javitz, and Reeves became its national supervisor in January 1936.[4]

After 1956, she lived in India, where she served on the All-India Handicrafts Board. She died in New Delhi in 1966.[5]


  • Ruth Reeves (1962). Cire Perdue Casting in India. New Delhi: Crafts Museum. 


  1. ^ "RUTH REEVES, 74, A CRAFTS EXPERT; Artist Who Studied Indian Work Dies in New Delhi". The New York Times. December 24, 1966. p. 19. 
  2. ^ Woodham, Jonathan M. (2006). A Dictionary of Modern Design (Oxford Paperback Reference). Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-19-280639-4.  (extract hosted at
  3. ^ Wojtowicz, Robert; Mumford, Lewis (2007). Mumford on Modern Art in the 1930s. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 154. ISBN 0-520-24858-9. 
  4. ^ Doss, Erika Lee; Clayton, Virginia Tuttle; Stillinger, Elizabeth (2002). Drawing on America's past: Folk Art, Modernism, and the Index of American Design. Washington: National Gallery of Art. pp. 5–6. ISBN 0-89468-295-4. 
  5. ^ "Ruth Reeves Memorial Collection of the Folk Art in India". South Asia Center, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Syracuse University. Retrieved 2009-03-14. [dead link]

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