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October 8, 2009 Mid-Century Modern

University of Maryland Hosts Exhibit, Film Highlighting Career of Ruth Adler Schnee

The University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation will be holding an opening lecture and reception Friday at noon for a new exhibit on mid-century modern textile designer Ruth Adler Schnee. A documentary on Schnee’s career, “The Radiant Sun: A Portrait of Designer Ruth Adler Schnee,” by Terry Sarris will be screened at noon and 2 p.m. in the Architecture Building Auditarium. Both Sarris and Schnee will speak.” The exhibit will run through Nov. 20, 2009, in the Kibel Gallery.

After fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938, Schnee and her family settled in Detroit. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, she worked in the New York firm of Raymond Loewy in the 1940s. Returning to Detroit, Schnee began creating original textile designs. She collaborated with Buckminster Fuller on the Ford Rotunda in Detroit (1952-53) and Minoru Yamasaki in specifying interior treatments for the World Trade Center (1970-77). In the 1950s, she operated Adler Schnee, a design store committed to bringing modern design to Michigan.

Now in her 80s, Schnee still lives and works in Michigan, designing building interiors and woven textiles for Anzea. She is active in the Detroit design community as a preservation advocate for the city’s Modernist history.