Dreams of Repair: A Decade of Images

Persimmon Tree is pleased to honor artist Eleanor Rubin in this issue. A printmaker and watercolorist, she gained acclaim in the ’70s and ’80s for her series of human rights posters. As her career unfolded, she collaborated with poets and research scientists to create additional stunning, socially aware images. As an artist, she is interested in questions about the impact of visual images on a person’s sense of well-being.

The images below are drawn from her recent book, Eleanor Rubin: Dreams of Repair (Charta, 2011). In the Foreword, historian Howard Zinn wrote: “If the role of art is to join beauty to a deep caring for people in trouble, for a world in trouble; if it is to transcend the artificial boundaries that keep us apart; if it is to join us in solidarity with other sentient beings and with the natural world—then Eleanor Rubin fulfills the most profound responsibilities of the artist.”

Eleanor Rubin is an avid amateur cellist whose artwork is influenced by music, particularly the works of Hikari Oe. The qualities of narrative and protest in her work are indebted to courageous artists including Tomiyama Taeko (b. 1921), Nancy Spero (1926-2009), and Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943).

Click on the image to enlarge them.


The Story Before She Told It
watercolor 2004, 11″x 13.25″


Bright Bird
2004 watercolor 15″ x 12″


Memory Blue
2003 woodcut on handmade paper, 23″ x 30″


Venice Rainy Day
2009, watercolor , postal stamps, 14″ x 6″


Sounds of the Morning
2002 watercolor 11″ x 13.25″


Dreams of Repair
2004, watercolor 15″ x 12″


Rush of Light
2001 watercolor, woodcut and stencils, 9″ x 12″


Whispering Voices of Flowers
2005, watercolor 11″ x 13.5″


Opening Notes of Her Song
2003, watercolor 11″ x 13.5″


Fracture and Repair
2004 watercolor 11″ x 13.25″


Glad to the Brink of Fear
2005, sumi ink on handmade paper 10″ x 14″


Rescue in Ethiopia
2005 watercolor, 10″ x 14″


Season of Changes
2003, woodcut on Japanese mulberry paper, 21″ x 26″


“You Can Not Fold a Flood”
2007, watercolor 11″ x 13.5″


Eleanor Rubin has exhibited in many venues, including the Boston Public Library, Montserrat College of Art, University of New Hampshire, and the Cambridge Art Association. Her work is in many permanent collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Boston Public Library; and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has lectured extensively about printmaking and drawing, and her work has been reviewed in many publications, most recently in Art New England, the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, and The Boston Globe. She can be found at and

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