Wednesday, September 7, 2016
RIP Ruth Braunstein
Ruth Braunstein, one of San Francisco’s most prominent art dealers of the past several decades, died Tuesday night, Sept. 6, after a short illness. Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Marna Clark. She was 93.
Mrs. Braunstein was a purveyor of contemporary art when there was little market for it in the Bay Area, and an early champion of such artists as painters John Altoon and Mary Snowden. She was particularly supportive of artists who worked in clay, taking the so-called “craft” medium of ceramics seriously and building an audience for the work of Peter Voulkos, Richard Shaw and Robert Brady, among others.
Born Ruth Gershkow in Minneapolis in 1923, the daughter of a Russian immigrant furrier, Mrs. Braunstein came to San Francisco with her husband, Theodore Braunstein, in 1960. She started her first gallery in Tiburon in 1961 with $500 borrowed from her husband; her influential Braunstein/Quay Gallery opened in San Francisco in 1970. Her last gallery closed in 2011.
Mrs. Braunstein is credited with co-founding the San Francisco Art Dealers Association; Art Care, a nonprofit organization that works to preserve public sculpture and other civic art in San Francisco; and the California chapter of ArtTable, an organization of professional women in the visual arts..
Charles Desmarais is The San Francisco Chronicle’s art critic. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Artguy1