Ruth Fluno collection, 1927-1980 PDF
- Fluno, Ruth
- Ruth Fluno collection
- 1927-1980 (inclusive)19271980
- 4.0 linear feet, (9 boxes)
- Collection Number
- Artwork, poetry, diaries, and other writings of a Walla Walla artist, Ruth Fluno. She and her husband Robert Fluno moved to Walla Walla in 1952; the couple also traveled abroad in London, East Pakistan, Italy, and southern Europe. She considered much of her artwork to be social commentary.
- Whitman College and Northwest Archives
Whitman College and Northwest Archives
Penrose Library, Room 130
345 Boyer Avenue
Walla Walla, WA
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research.
- Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Funding for encoding the finding aid was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Biographical NoteReturn to Top
Ruth Lilja Fluno was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 16, 1923. She married Robert Y. Fluno on January 18, 1944. The couple moved to Walla Walla, Washington in 1952 when Robert Fluno was appointed Assistant Professor of Political Science at Whitman College. While she and her husband often lived abroad for extended periods, Walla Walla remained their home base. The couple resided in London in 1950, East Pakistan (Bangladesh) in 1957, and Florence, Italy. Ruth Fluno also took several extended sketching trips in southern Europe.
Ruth Fluno was primarily a self-taught artist and writer, although she did attend classes at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker School of Art (Washington, D.C.), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Heatherley's College of Art (London, England), and the Washington State University Summer Art Program (Spokane, Washington).
Fluno held a wide variety of employment, ranging from commercial artist to political organizer. While residing in Walla Walla, she worked for Whitman College as a proof-reader and an art instructor. She also taught painting at the Picturehouse Gallery, the Washington State Penitentiary, and the Carnegie Art Center, all in Walla Walla, Washington.
Fluno is best known for her humorous and critical portraits of middle class Americans; she considered much of her artwork to be social commentary. She also created numerous sketches and paintings of buildings in Walla Walla, Washington and southern Europe. She considered her work to be "expressionistic." Yet, unlike other contemporary artists, she worked in the very traditional media of oil and watercolor on canvas. During her lifetime, she exhibited her work at over 70 exhibitions.
As a writer, Fluno published five volumes of poetry and numerous individual poems in Yankee Magazine and other publications. Upon her death, she left behind several unpublished book and short story manuscripts and nearly twenty booklets of unpublished poetry.
Ruth Fluno committed suicide on November 24, 1974.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The collection contains sketches, slides of artwork, writings (many unpublished), and other materials created by Ruth Fluno. The diaries and correspondence files provide rich sources of biographical and professional information, and a number of the unpublished manuscripts are autobiographical. The collection provides a rare glimpse into the personal and professional life of a Pacific Northwest regional artist.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
1: Art-Related Materials, 1927-1980, (bulk 1950-1975) Return to Top
Files in this series include professional correspondence relating to Fluno's art and exhibitions, clippings about her career as an artist, cards and programs featuring Fluno's artwork, childhood drawings, gallery announcements for group and individual shows, political cartoons and other published drawings, and about 300 slides of Fluno's artwork.
Church Program Designs
Correspondence (Tapestry / Rugs)
Drawings, Age 4-10
Drawings, Age 5-10
Inventories of Art Works
Magazine Covers and Illustrations
Miscellaneous Published Artwork
Olin Gallery Exhibit
Photographic Prints of Paintings
Slides of Artwork
Theater Program Designs
Whitman College Table / Tapestry
2: Writings and Publications, 1935-1975Return to Top
Unpublished writings constitute the majority of this series. Diaries, journals, and unpublished poems and manuscripts provide important sources of information about Fluno's background, career, and personal life. Of particular interest are the Bengal Journals, diaries she wrote she kept while living in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) in 1957, and the unpublished book manuscript based on those diaries. The series also includes her five published volumes of poetry and numerous published poems.
"hannibal and his elephants stopped here"
A House in Bengal (Unpublished Manuscript)
"it was 1934 and i was cold"
"The Lost Thing: Priests and Prisoners by Roger and Ruth"
My First Twenty Years (Unpublished Manuscript)
Poetry / Drawings in Whitman Pioneer
Progress, fulfillment, etc
Reviews of Art Shows
Seven Short Stories (Unpublished Manuscript)
Unpublished Poetry Booklets
Untitled Manuscript of Childhood Sketches (Unpublished Manuscript)
"we all belong at home"
Writings from Junior and Senior High School
3: Miscellaneous, 1942-1980Return to Top
This series includes Fluno's journal and papers from her time as a Democratic-Farmer-Labor political organizer, information about her employment outside of the art world, and information about her funeral. Photographs of Ruth Fluno may also be found in this series.
Death and Funeral
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Materials
Layout Work for "American" Magazine
Olin Gallery Memorial Fund
Photographs of Ruth Fluno
Post Mortem Vita