How much more unsophisticated than the nymphs and goddesses of the Baroque period', wrote Cornelis Veth in 1946 about Gra Rueb's female nude in the Zuiderpark. The sculptress has instinctively kept the right balance here, and on the one hand not created a being that deceptively imitates the real thing, and on the other hand not an abstraction that can be hidden among living things such as water, plants, flowers, and under a free sky. Veth, author of a monograph on the occasion of Rueb's sixtieth birthday, was enchanted by her garden sculptures, most of them animals, incidentally.
The daughter of the Breda industrialist J.G. Rueb was financially independent and thus able to choose her own teachers. From 1911 she studied with the well-known Belgian sculptor Toon Dupuis in The Hague and four years later in Paris with Antoine Bourdelle, a pupil of the French master Rodin. Under the influence of Bourdelle, her work became more static. Back in the Netherlands, she was a self-confident woman, independent of Dutch criticism.
Rueb became known mainly for her stylised animal sculptures for gardens and as part of buildings, such as her reliefs for the Java Bridge and the former Zoo Bridge. Yet she also made many human figures, mostly statues of famous people, which she produced on commission. The best known is probably the statue of Baron van Tuyl van Serooskerken for the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. In her sculptures, portrait busts and plaques, Rueb demonstrated a precise rendering of characteristic facial features.
The portraits were forced to be much more realistic than her animals, which she often simplified into their typical pose. The seated woman from 1941 can therefore be regarded more as Rueb's pensive 'Cat' that had been placed in the Zuiderpark a little while earlier. In body and pose, he has been reduced to his essence, an icon, and for that reason he is probably perfectly at home with Veth.