Ruth Kempster

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Ruth Blanchard Miller Kempster (1904 - 1978)

Ruth Blanchard Miller was born on January 17, 1904, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the third and youngest daughter of Kempster B. and Antha (Knowlton) Miller, a couple who valued education. Ruth Kempster was interested in art as a child, and while she was in high school her father bought her a correspondence course in art basics from the Kansas City Art Institute, which she eagerly completed. The family assumed that after Ruth finished high school, she would attend Vassar College, as her mother and sisters before her had done, but Ruth had what she later referred to as a tiny little nervous breakdown, which convinced her parents to forget Vassar and send her directly to art school.

In 1922, the family were residents of Pasadena, California, and Ruth Kempster began her studies at the Stickney Memorial Art School in Los Angeles, California, and continued at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. At about age twenty-one, Ruth moved to the Art Students League in New York City, where she studied sculpture, her first love, along with painting and lithography.

She later studied at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, and the National Academy in Florence, Italy.

By 1930 she had settled in Pasadena where she taught at the School of Fine Arts for several years and won many awards in local shows. In 1953 she toured Korea as a portrait painter for the Armed Forces Far East Command.

Name variants: Ruth Kempster, Ruth Blanchard Miller, and Ruth Blanchard Miller Kempster.