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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ruth Duckworth's Organic Creations & Philosophy

Everyday art appraisers examine a variety of objects from a variety of time periods and genres. From an appraiser's unbiased point of view, it is more important to understand a particular genre and not whether or not it fits your particular taste. Although I greatly enjoy modernist pieces, I understand that not everyone is of a similar mindset. Therefore, I would like to visually examine a notable piece of modernist sculpture, discuss the possible creative philosophies of the artist who made it, and explain why I appreciate it.

The above sculpture, currently at MIR Appraisal Services, Inc., was created by Ruth Duckworth. She was born in Hamburg Germany in 1919, but fled Nazi Germany for England at the age of 17. Duckworth began her formal art training at the Liverpool School of Art, then studied at the Hammersmith School of Art, and finally went to the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. Eventually Duckworth would move to Chicago to teach at the University of Chicago, which she did until 1977. She is known to still live in the Chicago and continues to sculpt.

Beyond the facts of Duckworth’s life, what I find interesting about her work is that she produces pieces that are entirely unique to both the art world and to the broader genre of everyday objects. What I mean by this is that her work is removed from common visual forms and preconceived notions of what a ceramic, bronze, or clay object is suppose to look like. Instead Duckworth’s sculptures only attempt to be just what they are, nothing more. In her work, she does not attempt to depict people, animals or bowls; they simply are what they are, art objects. Furthermore, what makes Duckworth’s sculptures interesting is that they are unique extensions of the artist herself. Meaning that although Duckworth has gone through many creative phases processes, in which she has used varied materials, the underlying tie that binds her creativity, appears to be the organic creation of her pieces. In the artists own words “I don’t want to think. I want it to happen by itself, to flow up.” She is creating works that for the first time exist in the world through her intuitive feel for the materials she uses.

The Duckworth sculpture, currently at MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is an example of the organic creative methods that the artist uses. This ceramic stone ware and mixed media work consists of two long and rounded pieces in the center that converge at one side, but remain open at the other end. Each extremity emerging from the central torso has been extended gracefully by the artist, so that there is a seamless flow throughout the work's entirety. This particular sculpture is a fine example and testament to Ruth Duckworth's creative philosophy with its unique appearance and organically sculpted limbs.

For more information or acquisition inquiries on this newly restored Ruth Duckworth sculpture, please contact MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. in Chicago at (312) 814-8510 or email us at

-MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.

Resources Consulted & Further Reading:

Hales, Linda.”Ruth Duckworth: Modernist Sculptor.”Washington Post (Sept. 4, 2006): C01,,1127401.html

Stair, Julian.“Duckworth’s volumes and planes: a traveling retrospective examines the 60-year career of sculptor Ruth Duckworth, whose reductive vessels and blocky figures reflect the coolness of international modernism.”Art in America (Dec., 2005),

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    Chicago, Illinois, United States
    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.