Ruth Starr Rose, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History & Culture, Baltimore, Maryland
Curated to explore and celebrate Ruth Starr Rose’s paintings, lithographs and drawings as they are relevant as rare depictions of early twentieth-c. African American daily life. Her work fits squarely into the American scene, and the subject matter aligns with that of prominent male artists such as Reginald Marsh, John McCrady, Prentiss Taylor and Alfred Hutty.
What separates Rose from her contemporaries is not the volume of her work, thought to be the most extensive illustration of black life known today, but instead her genuine manner of portraying people. In Rose’s art, the sitter is painted without racial stereotypes or exaggerated gesture; one senses that the subject does not resent the viewer. Added to the honesty of her work is the rare survival of preparatory sketches, print takes, correspondence with critics and the artist’s notes, which document the arduous process of making these finished works of art.
In her work as an artist, Rose was prolific; leaving over five hundred sketches, lithographs, print proofs, serigraphs, etchings and paintings illustrating black life. This was not her only subject matter – Rose was accomplished as a maritime artist and also worked in the American West, Deep South, Haiti and Mexico
The exhibition was held October 2015 through April 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland and has been touring throughout the US to date.