Ruth Danielson Davis

Picture of Ruth Davis

During her 32-year career in the Related Art Department, Ruth Davis (1909-2011) (BS 1931 Art Education; MS 1940; MFA 1976) developed the artistic talents of thousands of students, served as a mentor for many new faculty, and exhibited her artwork around the world. She taught art in a Fond du Lac junior high school and then at Madison East High School. In 1943, Ruth was appointed to the Related Art Department, where she taught Fundamentals of Design, for which she authored a textbook. She also taught 3-D Design, History of American Interiors, and the laboratory portion of Helen Allen’s course on decorative textiles. Influenced by Helen Allen, Ruth traveled extensively to conduct research for her class presentations. She participated in numerous competitive art shows throughout the world, and developed an original technique of applying watercolors, synthetic dyes, and inks directly to large textile panels. Along with solo shows, her painted textiles were included in the Objects U.S.A. touring exhibition sponsored by Johnson and Sons to highlight contemporary crafts, and featuring a reception at the Smithsonian Institution, on both its American tour (1969-72) and European tour (1972-74). Closer to home, Ruth’s textiles and watercolor paintings were displayed around Madison in juried exhibitions and as commissioned works in public places. Following her retirement, Ruth earned her MFA and retired to California.

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