Ruth Cobb Brice born on this date

The McClung Collection is delighted to have a new addition to our stellar display of local art. This untitled piece is by local African American artist, Ruth Cobb Brice. It combines elements of Cubism and Surrealism in a woodland landscape featuring two birds; the work is dated 1965 by the artist.

Ruth Cobb Brice was born in Knoxville on June 25, 1899, the daughter of Rachel and Joshua Cobb and the sister of bandleader, St. Clair Cobb. Ms. Brice distinguished herself in every field of interest she pursued, including education, writing, and art. Ruth attended Swift Memorial College, Rogersville, and she received her teaching certificate in 1918. She ultimately returned to Knoxville and taught at Heiskell, Maynard, and Sam E. Hill elementary schools.

Ruth had solo publications (a first for an African American woman from Knoxville) as well as poems, short stories, and articles published in print media around the country. She also wrote under the pen name Rachel Jane McKinney. As an artist she was equally prolific, exploring many styles and media and showing in solo and group exhibitions. Ruth was the first African American member of the Knoxville Art Center in 1954, she was elected to the National Hobby Hall of Fame, and she was elected unanimously as the first African American artist to the Knoxville Watercolor Society in 1968. Ms. Brice was the artist of the month for June, 1971 at the Dulin Art Gallery, and she helped found The Society of Art and Culture, Inc.

Ruth Cobb Brice died on September 2, 1971 and was buried at Crestview Cemetery.

We hope you will visit the McClung Collection to see this and all our other artwork on display. Learn more about Ruth Cobb Brice through materials we have here in the collection.