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Ruth Powers Ortlieb
1893-1982

Theme/Style – Modernism, California Regionalism, still lifes

Media – Oils, watercolors

Artistic Focus – Considered progressive in her artistic approach, Ruth Powers Ortlieb helped establish the San Diego Moderns in the early 1930s. “The synthesis of Regionalism and Modernism she brought to her work is unique to the California Scene movement of the time.” She exhibited frequently throughout California in the 1930s and early 1940s. She traveled to Asia, Europe, Canada and Mexico, using her travels as the inspiration for her artistic efforts.

Career Highlights –

• A native of Riverside, California, Ruth Powers Ortlieb studied with several San Diego artists and began exhibiting in San Diego in the late 1920s.
• She received a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State College in 1931 and began teaching art in San Diego city schools.
• In 1935, one of her paintings was exhibited at the California Pacific International Exposition, while another example of her work was featured at the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939-40.
• In 1936, Ortlieb was hired to teach design courses at San Diego State College.
• As of the early 1940s, she left San Diego to study at Claremont College. There, a student of Millard Sheets, she earned her master’s degree in 1942.

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