[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]
HLETKO, Ruth [1913–1974]
oil on board / 18 inches by 14 inches
Normal schools in the United States take their name similar French institutions—écoles normale—established to train teachers for the public elementary schools system. Mary Hletko came to Northwest Iowa Normal for that reason from her home in Omaha’s south side Czech community; graduating in 1936 she returned to her home and taught for forty years. Miss Hletko died at Fort Myers, Florida in 1974.
The four-year N.I.N. curriculum in education produced generalists equipped to teach a number of subjects, though students were encouraged to focus in some area of specialization. Miss Hletko chose both English and art, which brought her into the studio of Karl Wasserman. Wasserman must have admired this effort: the painting hung in his office and was often brought into the studio as an exemplar.