Sunday, July 7, 2013

Birthday Wishes for Ruth Ford. (This would be her 102nd!)

(This would be her 102nd!)

Ruth Ford. Photo by George Platt Lynes.

July 7th is the day that Ruth was born in 1911. It came up somewhere today that Marc Chagall was also born on July 7th, but in 1887. He died in 1985. And while I didn’t actually meet Mr. Chagall, Charles did know him and he had an apartment in the same building as the one Charles had in Paris, on the Ile St. Louis, where I had the good fortune to spend quite a lot of time. I was aware early on of the paintings Marc Chagall made, and I’m sure that Ruth had a book full of them somewhere in her library at the Dakota.

Ruth also had some large, beautiful photographs in her apartment, portraits of herself taken by George Platt Lynes. Those portraits of Ruth are among his most famous fashion images, taken at the height of Ruth’s modeling career in the 1930s here in New York. One in particular, taken in 1937, is especially dramatic with Ruth posing in a striped dress and exhaling a glamorous little cloud of cigarette smoke at a time when cigarettes were still considered glamorous.

George Platt Lynes made portraits of many of Ruth’s and Charles’s friends, including Pavel Tchelitchew, Paul Cadmus, Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy and of course, Marc Chagall. 

I don’t recall Ruth ever mentioning Chagall or their shared birthday, but I would imagine that if she and Charles were still here, between the two of them there would surely be some kind of story about him. It sometimes feels as if everyone interesting who lived during the 20th century has some kind of link to Charles or to Ruth. Ruth lived a charmed life to be sure, and she left behind many beautiful  souvenirs. 

 A happy birthday to you, dear Ruth. You are not forgotten. 

Ruth Ford 
July 7, 1911, Brookhaven, Mississippi – August 12, 2009, New York City

-Indra Tamang

Copyright Indra Tamang, 2013, all rights reserved.