Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss

1928Petah Tikva, Israel | 2010Tel Aviv, Israel
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Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss

Israeli sculptor, painter, illustrator and designer.

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss was a notable female artist in Israel, working in a variety of media. She started to paint when she was still in high school, and though she was quickly acknowledged as a gifted painter, she turned to sculpture with the guidance of Moshe Sterenshuss (1903-1992). Though her pieces were strongly influenced by modern art, and especially modernist sculpture, she formulated her own artistic language and gained a reputation as an independent and original artist amongst the most influence art’s figures in Israel. 
In 1949, R. Zarfati joined the Ofakim Hadashim (New horizons) movement, and was the only female artist and the youngest amongst older men. Her style being quite different from that of the others, she felt an outsider, as she did not share the group’s worldview. Ofakim Hadashim was oriented towards modern and abstract art, however she remained faithful to figurative sculpture. In her sculptural work she emphasised shapes, structure and composition, and the expressive content of her works combines the abstract and the organic to one formative system. Her Torso Sculptures (1975) exemplify this combination. While R. Zarfati referred to Greek sculpture and Classical art, she also drew inspiration from so-called Primitive art, which added a unique and abstract signature to her sculpture. Her art was also inspired by her personal biography. Like in the Infant sculpture series (detail: Baby sculpture, 1970), which was created following the birth of her daughter, who quickly became an ongoing inspiration source. As a result of the originality, expressiveness and formative wealth of these sculptures, they became a greatly important aspect to her creative process as a whole, while also influencing other artists. 
 
Although sculpture was her main practice, R. Zarfati never abandoned painting. Alongside these two methods, she was also known for her illustrations in books. Considered one of the most important illustrators in Israel, she created some seventy illustrated books, most published by the best-known poets and authors in Israel, and some she wrote herself. Her colourful and variegated self-portraits and portraits of her loved ones, reflect her biography and experiences throughout her life. 
R. Zarfati left a great mark on Israeli art, in every field she created in. She won eleven awards for different works of art, participated in twenty-one solo exhibitions and dozens of collectives, in Israel and abroad. She left behind an extensive legacy.  

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Roni Ra’anan 

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring


© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, Baby Sculpture, 1970, H. 73 cm

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, Torso Sculptures, 1975, bronze, H. 52 cm

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, Self-portrait, 1957, cast stone, H. 33 cm

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, Greece, 1980, watercolor, 21 x 28 cm

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, Cypress Landcape, 1980, watercolour, 23 x 30 cm

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, Palestine figures, 1973, painted wood, H. 12 cm

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, ceramics

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, ceramic tray

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, ceramic jewelery

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, Hash’Hoshit [The life of Hamster], 1964, cover book, written and illustrated by the artist

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, Shimnks’s Hill, 1992, illustration, watercolour

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, Uncle Simha, 1962, illustration, pen and paper cuts

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, textile design, 1976, watercolour

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ruth Zarfati Sterenshuss, dress, 1976

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