About the Artist

Shirley Moskowitz as a Student

Shirley Moskowitz as a Student

Shirley Edith Moskowitz was born on August 4, 1920 in Houston Texas, the daughter of Joseph Louis and Flora Susnitsky Moskowitz.

She studied art from girlhood, and received a BA from Rice University. She received an MA from Oberlin College.

It was at Oberlin that she met Jacob W. Gruber, whom she married in 1946. The couple had three children, Ruth, Frank (married to Janet Levin), and Samuel (married to Judith Meighan) and three grandchildren — Henry, Jonah and Zoe.

Shirley died on April 28, 2007.

Shirley and Jake in the 1940sShirley and Jake, Santa Monica, 2006

Shirley Moskowitz Gruber and her three children in the 1980s, Bomarzo, Italy

Shirley Moskowitz Gruber and her three children in the 1980s, Bomarzo, Italy

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One thought on “About the Artist

  1. Anita Nathan Beckenstein asked me to post this

    On Remembering Shirley Moskowitz Gruber, an Artist, an Old Family Friend

    Actually, I am unable to separate either.

    My father and Shirley grew up together in Houston, and both eventually left for graduate school. Shirley never moved back, but my dad did after the War. Our post War, GI-financed house was typically small but had enough wall space for Daddy’s collections of Abraham Lincoln and FDR portraits, family photos, kids’ framed fingerpaint “masterpieces,” and a couple of S. Moskowitz works, both in the livingroom.  Oil Fields.  Musicians. The first was a wedding present to my parents. The second was given to my dad years earlier when Shirley was a graduate student at Oberlin.  Musicians hung on the wall near the babygrand piano in its alcove, and it was that one I developed a lifelong relationship with. I took piano lessons beginning at the age of 4 and later switched over to cello at age 8.  Practice time gave me many hours to contemplate that picture.  Were those ladies playing giant cellos? I was small for my age and my cello almost full-sized. People used to comment it looked as if arms and legs were coming out of that instrument!

    My mom played piano and one of my sisters studied violin. My mom fantasized about having a family chamber ensemble and would pore over piano, violin and cello music looking for repertoire possibilities. When an opportunity to participate in our local Temple talent show arose, she further concentrated her efforts and came up with two selections:  All through the Night – a Welsh lullaby http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvGkUbMlBrs; and Ständchen (Serenade) by Franz Schubert.  Many years later, when I studied voice, fell in love with and performed Schubert Lieder, Ständchen became one of my stand-bys. Whether performed by a world-renown singer or a rank amateur, Ständchen transforms both singer and listener. I invite you to check out two treasures: Fritz Wunderlich http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgxsiEcIUB4&feature=related ; and Joseph Schmidt
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO9TEHmfsZc&feature=related . [bio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Schmidt%5D

    Decades later my sisters and I returned to Houston to clean out Daddy’s apartment. Lots more pictures, to be sure, on fewer walls. But I got first dibs on Musicians — those two ladies playing what I now identify as string basses – – – or megacellos!

    Here in California we have a babygrand piano in our livingroom. Shirley’s picture is nearby, ever reminding me of her as a student . . . as well as myself.

    Anita Nathan Beckenstein

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