Ruth Harris Porteous was born November 17th, 1899 to Grace and James Harris in St. Louis Missouri. Her father James was employed by Anheuser-Busch and played an instrumental role in working with Mr. Diesel to bring the diesel engine to the United States.

In 1924 Ruth married James Waterman Porteous and moved to the home they built in Webster Groves (a suburb of St. Louis). There they raised their two children while Ruth was actively involved in the choir at her church and the Red Cross. Webster Groves proved to be the perfect place for Ruth as it was an art driven community and home to many of St. Louis’s finest artists of the day including Werner Drewes, Arthur Osver and Fred Conway.

In 1933 Fred Conway, a professor at Washington University, founded The Studio Group based in Webster Groves. The Studio Group was made up of 16 female artists, many of whom had studied at the nation’s leading art schools, and was guided by Conway. The group held its own exhibitions at the City Art Museum, now known as St. Louis Art Museum, as well as at the St. Louis Artists Guild and private exhibitions at Conway’s studio. The group gained notoriety in the late thirties with praise for painting in advanced and diverse styles. Ruth was the first of these women to distinguish herself by winning a prize at the City Art Museums Annual Show. Ruth was also an avid member of the St. Louis Artists Guild.

Ruth painted in both oil and watercolor. Her most prized works are “Treasured Relics”, “Waterfall”, “The Convoy”, and “September Dunes”. Ruth died in 1990 in St. Louis.


1937-1938  Studio of Fred Conway

1940-1956 Annual Show, City Art Museum (St. Louis Art Museum)

1940-1956 St. Louis Artist Guild Annual Show


“Waterfall”, 1941 St. Louis Artist Guild

“September Dunes”, 1942 Annual Show, City Art Museum (St. Louis Art Museum)

“Convoy”, 1942 St. Louis Artist Guild

“Night Harbor” 1955 Annual Show, City Art Museum (St. Louis Art Museum)