• John Ruthven, Artist

    "I believe that art is as necessary to our heritage as the history book. Both record past and present in the effort to educate and enrich the lives of people today and in the future. It is my desire, through my paintings to record for later generations some of the beauty of nature that exists in my lifetime"

John A. Ruthven

Welcome to the world of John A. Ruthven, naturalist, author, lecturer, and internationally acknowledged master of wildlife art. Often called the “20th Century Audubon,” Ruthven used many of the same techniques as the famed John James Audubon, the American ornithologist, artist and naturalist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. After studying and researching his subject thoroughly, he would sketch to rigid specifications then render the original painting with infinite detail.

John’s fascination with nature began as a young boy in Cincinnati, where he would make his way along the banks of the Ohio River, and he of course took his sketch pad everywhere he went. John was drafted December 1942 to serve in the U.S. Navy in World War II as a second-class petty officer on a destroyer escort, the USS. J.R.Y. Blakely and this took him around the world sketching birds and animals as he went. When John returned from WWII, he attended the Cincinnati Art Academy and opened his own commercial art studio.

In 1960 John entered the Federal Duck Stamp competition and won with his “Redhead Ducks.” His first one-man show was held in 1966 at Abercrombie and Fitch in Chicago and its total success established John as a wildlife artist. To fulfill the request for his art, a portion of his paintings were reproduced in limited edition prints. In order to closely control the production and distribution of his work, John founded Wildlife Internationále, Inc. in 1971.

Unveilings of his original paintings have taken place at The White House; the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; the President`s Palace in the Philippines, Crown Prince Henri’s palace in Luxemburg, the Neil Armstrong Space Museum, and the Ohio State Capitol Rotunda. Among the corporate offices featuring his work are Proctor & Gamble, the Cincinnati Bengals, John Deere & Company, and the WILDS – International Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals to name a few.


  • Federal Duck Stamp Competition 1960

  • Ducks Unlimited First Artist of the Year 1972

  • Ducks Unlimited First Ohio Duck Stamp Artist 1982

  • Trout Unlimited Artist of the Year 1984

  • Ducks Unlimited First Ohio Animal Stamp 1988

  • Ducks Unlimited Pacific Flyaway Artist 1989

  • Great Living Cincinnatian Award 1999

  • National Medal of Arts 2004

  • Cincinnati Nature Center Wood Thrush Award 2013

  • Garden Club of America’s Eloise Payne Luquer Medal 2015

  • Cincinnati Museum Center’s John A. Ruthven Medal of Distinction 2019

Major Commissions

  • 3 US Presidents: Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan & George H.W. Bush

  • President Marcos of Philippines

  • Air Force Academy

  • Armco Steel Corporation

  • Bankers Life & Casualty

  • Cincinnati Bell

  • Cincinnati Bengals

  • Cincinnati Museum Center

  • Cincinnati Nature Center

  • Cincinnati Zoo

  • Ducks Unlimited

  • Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

  • Miami University

  • Neil Armstrong Space Museum

  • Procter & Gamble