Ruth Gikow
circa 1939

Ruth Gikow (1915-1982), 'Flood', color serigraph, c. 1939, edition c. 25. Signed and titled in pencil. Annotated with the WPA number 'G-9100' in pencil, lower left sheet corner. A fine impression with fresh colors, on cream wove paper; full margins (2 3/8 to 3 1/4 inches). An archivally repaired tear (1/2 inch) in the top center sheet edge, well away from the image; a spot stain in the bottom center margin, and in the top left margin, both well away from the image; otherwise in good condition.

Created for the New York City WPA.

Collections: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library.

Ruth Gikow was born in the Russian Ukraine and emigrated to the Lower East Side of New York when she was 5. At age 17, she entered the Cooper Union Art School and studied with Austin Purvis, Jr. and John Stewart Curry. Following art school, she joined the New York City WPA Federal Arts Project. In 1939, she was commissioned to paint murals for Bronx Hospital, Riker's Island, Rockefeller Center and, the New York World's Fair. She also created illustations for World Publishers' edition of Dostoevski's 'Crime and Punishment'. With fellow artists, she helped found the American Serigraph Society which produced a substantial body of original graphics employing the silkscreen medium.

Following World War II, after a brief career in commercial art, she met and married artist Jack Levine. Challenged by his commitment to his work, she returned to her painting and drawing with renewed energy.

Though she lived through turbulent and sometimes hostile times, her work continued to reflect her strong love of humanity. Her lifelong dedication to an original and authentic vision led art critic Henry Russell Hitchcock to describe her as one of the country's "ten outstanding women painters."

9 3/8 x 16 3/8 inches