Ruth Bernhard (1905 - 2006)
Classic Torso with Hands
Legendary San Francisco photographer Ruth Bernhard is considered one of the 20th Century’s great West Coast photographers, along with her colleagues Imogen Cunningham, Minor White, Wynn Bullock, Ansel Adams, and Edward Weston. Her exquisite use of light and sensual form drew international acclaim throughout her more than 70 years as a photographer. Her work has been exhibited and collected in major museums throughout the world.
To describe her style Bernhard wrote:
“My quest, through the magic of light and shadow, is to isolate, to simplify and to give emphasis to form with the greatest clarity…To indicate the ideal proportion, and reveal sculptural mass and the dominating spirit, is my goal.”
Born in Berlin, Bernhard arrived in New York in 1927 where she began her serious work as a photographer and creating images of female nudes. She settled in San Francisco in 1953 where she lived until her death at age 101. In 1999, when Bolinas Museum presented an exhibition of her work, Ruth Bernhard: Intimate Collection, it was hard to grasp that Ruth, petite, sharp, chic and energetic, was 94 years old. She was still lecturing and conducting master classes throughout the United States. She personally selected one of her most iconic images, Classic Torso with Hands, to contribute to the Bolinas Museum Permanent Collection.