Paintings by Ruth E. Claxton
(b. 1916 Montreal, Quebec d. 1984 St. Petersburg Beach, Florida)

Ruth Claxton’s husband Garfield was a leading Ogdensburg obstetrician from 1935 until his retirement in 1964 and relocation to Florida. Dr. Claxton’s legacy remains with the children he delivered, and the large gift to the local hospital that now bears his name.

Ruth made her mark in arts and culture. She was a part of the community theater troupe, the Little Theatre Group, as a scene painter and actor. She wrote for the Ogdensburg Journal, including her own column, the Children’s Corner. Her dispatches from Florida continued to run, long after the couple moved south.

These 9 paintings were donated by the estate of Garfield’s subsequent wife, Helena Claxton, who died in 2016 at the age of 109. According to family, these paintings were displayed in the Claxton household throughout Garfield’s life, and Helena’s.

The paintings appear to have been done over a span of decades. The only dated one (left) was published in 1973 on the cover of the Presbyterian Survey magazine. From the age of materials and subject matter, many of these seem to have been painted much earlier, when Claxton lived in Ogdensburg.
Some of the landscapes may show the influence of National Academy painter Charles S. Chapman, who had a summer home in nearby Morristown, New York, and taught art in popular classes, sometimes even here, at the Remington. The Ogdensburg students met and showed their work as the Ogdensburg Art Club.

Though Ruth Claxton moved to Florida 52 years ago, and died in 1984, we have heard from some people who remember her, and hope this exhibit will bring input from more, and will begin new conversations about Ogdensburg’s rich artistic past.
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