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Ruth Erb Hoffman
Ruth M. Erb-Hoffman (American, 1902-1968) artist, painter, sculptor and educator known for figurative, landscape, and still life paintings. She was born in 1902 in Buffalo, NY, and received her B.A. from Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, 1922-circa 1926. She also studied at the Child-Walker School of Fine Arts and Crafts (graduate fellowship from Wellesley) in Boston, MA. In addition, she studied with the sculptor Arthur Lee (Norwegian-American, 1881-1961), artist Agnes Anne Abbot (German-American, 1897-1992), artist Edwin Walter Dickinson (American, 1891-1978) and the famous Buffalo artist Charles Ephraim Burchfield (American, 1893-1967). Hoffman was one of the original founders of the Patteran Society of artists in 1933, and had many successful solo and group exhibitions along with several awards at: The Art Institute of Chicago, the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, prizes 1939, 1940, and 1946), the American Federation of Arts (traveling exhibit), the Riverside Art Museum, the Carnegie Institute (prize. 1941), the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Butler Institute of American Art, and the Terry Institute (prize, 1952). Collections can be found in the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY, and in the Northwestern University Hall of Fame (busts), Evanston, IL. She was married to the orthodontist Dr. Burton A. Hoffman (1903-1967) who had his practice in Buffalo, NY, and they also resided in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.

“In the early 1930’s, disagreement developed between two factions in the Buffalo Society of Artists – the traditionalists and progressives. This resulted in the latter group forming their own organization, the Patteran Society, in May 1933. The name was derived from a gypsy word meaning “a path in an unknown direction.” The founders of the Patteran were Ruth Erb Hoffman, Grace Allison Barron (American, 1899-), Carl Bredemeier (American, 1892-), Harold LeRoy Olmstead (American, 1886-1972), Evelyn Rumsey Lord (American, 1877-1963), Louisa Winslow Robbins (American, 1898-1962), Virginia Tillou (née Eller, American, 1906-1995), and Martha Visser’t Hooft (American, 1906-1994). It was agreed that that the society would be conducted with a minimum of rules and regulations. The organization’s aim, it was stated, would be “to foster free and independent thought and approach in the individual, rather than group excellence in the total.” The founders led their way in exploring and experimenting with the various methods and techniques of the contemporary masters. Their success encouraged other members to follow this “patteran.” By the mid-1950’s, many of the members of the Patteran also belonged to the Buffalo Society of Artists, almost obliterating the differences which caused the division in 1933. And in a display of fraternalism in April 1962, the two organizations shared an exhibition in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. They again exhibited there in 1975.”[1] The Patteran society disbanded in 1983.

Chronology:

1902- Born, Buffalo, NY.

1922-circa 1926- Studied at Wellesley College (later received B.A.), Wellesley, MA, returning to Buffalo in the summers between classes, sometimes vacationing at Camp Mesacosa, a girls camp located in the Adirondack Mountains, Efner Lake, Corinth, NY. Also studied at the Child-Walker School of Fine Arts and Crafts (graduate fellowship from Wellesley) in Boston, MA. Studied with the sculptor Arthur Lee (Norwegian-American, 1881-1961), artist Agnes Anne Abbot (German-American, 1897-1992), artist Edwin Walter Dickinson (American, 1891-1978) and the famous Buffalo artist Charles Ephraim Burchfield (American, 1893-1967).

1924-25- December-January, Ruth Erb and Buffalo orthodontist Dr. Burton A. Hoffman (1903-1967) visited Florida and Cuba.

c1930's-1940- Married Buffalo orthodontist Dr. Burton A. Hoffman (1903-1967).

1931- Exhibited, group show, the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

1932-57- Exhibited, group shows, Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Art Gallery), prizes for years 1939, 1940 and 1946, Buffalo, NY.

1933- May, Ruth along with fellow artists Grace Allison Barron (American, 1899-), Carl Bredemeier (American, 1892-), Harold LeRoy Olmstead (American, 1886-1972), Evelyn Rumsey Lord (American, 1877-1963), Louisa Winslow Robbins (American, 1898-1962), Virginia Tillou (née Eller, American, 1906-1995), and Martha Visser’t Hooft (American, 1906-1994) founded the Patteran Society of artists, Buffalo, NY.

1937- January 26, Ruth and her husband arrived in New Orleans from Vera Cruz, Mexico on the ship Jamaica Merchant.

1939- Exhibited, group show, traveling exhibition around the United States with the American Federation of Arts. Exhibited, group show, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA.

1941- Exhibited, group show (Prize, Honorable Mention and $300), International, one painting shown “Intermezzo”, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA.

1942- Exhibited, group show, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA. Exhibited, group show, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.

1943- Exhibited, group show, the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Exhibited, group show, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA.

1944- Exhibited, group show, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA.

1947- Exhibited, group show, Biennial, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

1952- Exhibited, group show (Prize), Terry Art Institute, Miami, FL.

1955- Exhibited, solo show, Elmwood-Franklin School, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, group show, Chautauqua, NY. Exhibited, group show (prize), Sisti Galleries, Buffalo, NY.

1956- Exhibited, group show, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH.

1957- Exhibited, solo show, Crane Library, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, group show, Chautauqua, NY.

1967- January, 28, Ruth’s husband Dr. Burton A. Hoffman died, Buffalo, NY. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.

1968- May 8, died in an automobile accident on the QEW in Ontario, Canada, not far from Niagara Falls. She is also buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.

2007- Exhibited, Spring, groups show, “A Tradition of Still Lifes: Theresa Hinchy Grau and other selected Western New York artists”, one painting shown “Still Life with Green Apples Against a Peacock Background” (undated), 24 x 36”, oil on canvas board, Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY.

Memberships: The Patteran Society (one of the founders), Buffalo, NY; Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Art Gallery), Buffalo, NY; Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY.

Awards: Albright Art Gallery (prizes, 1939, 1940, and 1946), Buffalo, NY; Carnegie Institute (prize, Honorable Mention and $300, 1941), Pittsburgh, PA; Terry Art Institute (prize, 1952), Miami, FL; Sisti Galleries (prize, 1955), Buffalo, NY.

Collections: Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY; Northwestern University Hall of Fame, busts, Evanston, IL.

Galleries: Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY.

Publications: The Illustrated Buffalo Express, “World of Society: Home’s Best”, Section 5-Page 9, Sunday August 27, 1922; The Buffalo Express, “Social Calendar: Record of Events in Buffalo Society”, Monday Morning, September 18, 1922; The Buffalo Morning Express, “Social Calendar: Record of Events in Buffalo Society”, Thursday December 25, 1924; The Buffalo Sunday Express, “Wellesley Semi-Centennial Plans Are Impressive: Buffalo Alumnae raising share of endowment fund; pageant, and other events”, Section 5, Page 3, May 3, 1925; Index of Artists: International-Biographical, Daniel Trowbridge Mallet, Two Volumes: Includes 1940 Index, 1935; Poughkeepsie New Yorker, “Johnson Wins Artist Award: Carnegie Picks American Leaders”, page 15, 1941; Women Artists in America: Eighteenth Century to Present, Jim L. Collins, 1973; The Art & Artists of Buffalo: Adventures in Western New York History, by William J. Barney, Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, Volume XXV, 1979; Who Was Who in American Art: Artists Active Between 1898-1947, Peter Hastings Falk Editor, 1985; The Annual Exhibition Record of the Art Institute of Chicago, Peter Hastings Falk Editor, 1990; Who was Who in American Art 1564-1975, Vol. II, by Peter Hastings Falk Editor-in-Chief, 1999; The Artists Bluebook: 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005, Lonnie Pierson Dunbier Editor, AskArt.com, Inc., 2005; Davenport's Art Reference: The Gold Edition, Ray Davenport, 2005.

For additional information on this artist or for other possible examples of her works, please visit the AskArt link

(Rewritten in parts & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 08/2010 [updated 08/2012], Sources: Too long to list here and are furnished upon request; And a special thank you to Kevin Daniel for helping correctly identify Ruth’s exact death year, as well as other additional information from findagrave.com, “Ruth Erb Hoffman” memorial #89148236 & “Burton A. Hoffman”, memorial #89148260, both in Section 8 of Forest Lawn Cemetery, grave photos submitted by Jay Boone, cemetery photos by BK, records added April 26, 2012.)
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