John A. Ruthven, naturalist, author, lecturer, and internationally acknowledged master of wildlife art is often called the “20th Century Audubon.” Ruthven uses the same techniques as his famous predecessor. After studying and researching his subject thoroughly, he sketches to rigid specifications then renders the original painting with great detail.
John remembers growing up in Walnut Hills and making his way to the banks of the Ohio River, dreaming about the birds John J. Audubon painted more than a century before.
Even as a boy, Ruthven’s dream was to become influential in preserving wildlife through art. “I continually took my sketch pad with me wherever I went,” Ruthven recalled. He went on to paint a brilliant career that has earned recognition from the highest.
After serving in World War II, he entered the Cincinnati Art Academy. He opened a commercial art studio in 1946 with the goal of building a career in wildlife art. In 1960 he entered the Federal Duck Stamp competition and won with his Redhead Ducks.
In 1971 Ruthven founded Wildlife Internationale`, Inc. to publish and distribute his limited edition prints. Ruthven was recognized as Duck`s Unlimited First Artist of the Year, First Ohio Duck Stamp Artists, and First Ohio Animal Stamp/Print Artist.
In 1994 Ruthven was honored by the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History with a major retrospective exhibit displaying 100 of his most important works, including “Eagle to the Moon,” commissioned by former Gov. James Rhodes to commemorate the achievements of astronaut Neil Armstrong.
His paintings have been included in acclaimed exhibitions such as The Artist of America Exhibition in Denver, Colorado and the Society of Animal Artist, a traveling museum exhibition included at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in Oradell, New Jersey.
Museums featuring his work include the Smithsonian Institution`s Preservation and Research Center; Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin; the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, Jamestown, New York; and the Cincinnati Museum Center where a major retrospective exhibit of his work, “John A. Ruthven – In the Audubon Tradition,” was mounted, and the Eliose Payne Luquer Medal from the Garden Club of America for special achievement in the field of botany which may include medial research, the fine arts or education.
John A. Ruthven received the 2004 National Medal of Arts for his impeccably accurate and unfailingly beautiful wildlife art, and in recognition of his contributions as an artist and naturalist to conserving our natural treasures. Unveilings of original paintings have taken place at The White House; the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; the President`s Palace in the Philippines, for Crown Prince Henri in Luxemborg, at the Neil Armstrong Space Museum, and the Ohio State Capital Rotunda.
Among the corporate offices featuring his work are Proctor & Gamble, the Cincinnati Bengals, John Deere & Company, and the WILDS – International Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals to name a few.
John received Eloise Payne Luquer Medal from The Garden Club of America Award at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Rochester, NY. He was honored for his special achievement in the field of botany which may include medical research, the fine arts or education.