Biography & CV



Detroit native Leonard Ruder (1917-2010) graduated from Meinzinger School of Art in Detroit, Michigan in 1946. Following a brief sojourn at the University of Fine Arts in San Miguel, Mexico, Ruder enrolled at Cranbrook Academy of Art to study painting with Zoltan Sepeshy. After graduating with his MFA in 1950, Ruder was included in a well-received traveling exhibition, Six American Painters, organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. The same year, he moved to Portland, Oregon to attend the Portland Museum Art School. Planning to make a career out of painting, he took a day job as a custodian in a local school district to support his young family while painting in his home studio at night. He continued working this way for the rest of his life, painting for over 50 years and exhibiting through the Portland Art Museum and periodically in group shows at small galleries and museums.

Ruder's fascination with space & science, architecture & machinery, and philosophy & religion are revealed in his work. A retrospective exhibition and catalog of his life and work were presented in 2008 at The Art Gym, Marylhurst University in Marylhurst, Oregon.

~ Adapted from What to Paint and Why: Modern Painters at Cranbrook, 1936-1974, ​Chad Alligood, © 2013,  Cranbrook Art Museum


Meinzinger School of Art, Detroit, MI, 1946

University of Fine Arts, San Miguel, Mexico, 1949

Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI. MFA, 1950

Museum Art School, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, 1952


Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR

Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem, OR

Museum of Northwest Art , La Conner, WA

Solo Exhibitions

2018:  Paintings 1970-1990, Augen Gallery, Portland, OR

2016: Spray Paintings 1965-1970,Augen Gallery, Portland, OR

2015: Free Zone: Works from the 1970s & 80s, Augen Gallery,

Portland, OR

2014: Leonard Ruder at PDX, Portland International Airport,

Portland, OR

2014: Paintings, Augen Gallery, Portland, OR

2009: Constructed Spaces, 12x16 Gallery, Portland, OR

2008: Evidence of a Life's Work, The Art Gym, Marylhurst University, Marylhurst, OR

1960: White Gallery, Portland State University, Portland, OR
1956:Drawings, The Junior Museum, Portland, OR
1952, 1954: Paul Hebb's 13th Street Gallery, Portland, OR

​Group Exhibitions

2017: Group Exhibition-gallery artists, Augen Gallery, Portland, OR

2015: Tenth Anniversary Exhibition​, 12x16 Gallery, Portland, OR

2015, 2012, 2011: Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, WA

2013: What to Paint and Why: Modern Painters at Cranbrook, 1936-1974, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI

2011: Augen Drawing Invitational, Augen Gallery, Portland, OR
2010: Fifth Annual Group Show, 12x16 Gallery, Portland, OR
1977: B&P Gallery, Beaverton, OR
1977: Carnegie Center, Walla Walla, WA​
1968: Visual Arts Gallery, Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham, OR

1960-2000: Rental Sales Gallery, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR

1952, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1967, 1968 & 1975:Artists of Oregon, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR

1951-1952: Six American Painters, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (traveling show)

Publications / Interviews

A Life of the Mind, Art & Antiques magazine, October 2016, page 26 

Rhine Ruder and Rhea Ruder Sleeman on artist Leonard Ruder, Art Focus with Eva Lake, radio interview, KBOO, Portland, OR, 2/25/2014

What to Paint and Why: Modern Painters at Cranbrook, 1936-1974, Chad Alligood, Curator, Cranbrook Art Museum, 2013

​Leonard Ruder's Quiet Passion in Paint, Katy Muldoon, obituary, The Oregonian, 11/13/2010

Leonard Ruder: Evidence of a Life's Work, Silas B. Cook, Guest Curator, catalog, The Art Gym, Marylhurst University, 2008

Leonard Ruder: Evidence of a Life's Work, Katy Muldoon, feature interview, The Oregonian, 1/18/2008

Six American Painters, Frederick S. Wight, Associate Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 1951