Ruth Adler Schnee: An Exhibit at the Cranbrook Art Museum

Ruth Adler Schnee working with designs for Slits and Slats and Pits and Pods

Until a string of media notices and articles recently flooded my inbox, I was unfamiliar with the work of Ruth Adler Schnee.

Born in 1923 in Frankfurt and trained under family friend Paul Klee in Germany, Ruth Adler eventually immigrated to the U.S., where she’d work with Walter Gropius at Harvard and then Eliel Saarinen at Cranbook. For a time, she apprenticed with Raymond Loewy.

In Detroit, she would marry Edward Schnee, with whom she formed Adler-Schnee Associates, an interior design firm. There, she designed and produced textiles and tableaus around them.

The exhibit of her works at Cranbrook comes on the heels of a request by Knoll fabrics for Adler-Schnee to reimagine some of her old designs and create a new one as well. Adler Schnee is currently 96 years old.

Take a look at some of the fabric samples shown on the Cranbrook page describing the exhibit, and then do a quick Google search on her works, and I think you’ll agree that, design-wise, they’re up there with any of the most interesting and beautiful textile designs of the era.

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