Every week during the exhibit “Aurora’s Own Ruth Van Sickle Ford,” we will feature one of the more than two dozen watercolor and oil paintings on display from March 3-May 13, 2023, at the Pierce Art and History Center. Accompanying the images will be commentary by the world’s foremost Ford expert, her biographer Nancy Smith Hopp, and also art conservator and Aurora Historical Society museum assistant Scott Sherwood. We hope you will be engaged and enlightened by this feature and that you will come to the Pierce Center to see the paintings up close and personal. Exhibit hours are listed below.
This oil painting, probably produced prior to 1940, seems to have a split personality. The vase is heavy and cautiously rendered with strong, simple strokes of the brush in a few shades of vivid blue. The flowers, on the other hand, are masterfully rendered and nearly fly off the canvas in a dazzling mashup of garden colors. Since mostly Mrs. Ford’s floral containers were not given a lot of prominence, does this mean someone else, possibly a student, painted this vase? Mrs. Ford was known, in the classroom, to *improve* the work of her students. We’ll probably never know, but what is art without mystery.Scott Sherwood, Art Conservator and Museum Assistant
Ruth originally gave this painting to Greg Pritchard in New York. Upon his death, he left it to Martha Jelinski, his niece. Martha was a student of Ruth’s, and Martha’s father, Phil Wright, knew Ruth well in Old Lyme and Old Saybrook, CN. Martha gave the painting to Bonnie Otte in the 1980s.