Their lives have been defined by beauty and art
Lucy and Herb Pruzan
Lucy born 1939, Montevideo, Uruguay. Arrived in Washington, 1953
Lucy Pruzan arrived in Seattle via Greyhound bus, but the road to get here took far more twists and turns than the long ride from New York.
“We traveled by ship from Montevideo to London because my dad had a very close cousin who had taken good care of him during his time in England when he was in the British army,” Lucy says. “We left Montevideo in September and got here in November. It was a long trip.”
Lucy’s family had left Berlin in the 1930s and arrived in Uruguay in 1938. Because Jews had not been allowed to attend college in Germany, her mother Frieda went to a trade school and trained to become a dressmaker, a skill she took with her to Montevideo. Once they arrived in Seattle, her parents took odd jobs until they eventually bought a dry cleaner in West Seattle.
Lucy became an “American girl” very quickly, she says. She met Herb Pruzan, the man she would soon marry, because her parents met Herb’s parents and became good friends. After their wedding, Herb’s father Jack, an artist, gave them some of his acquired pieces as a gift to start out.
“It wasn’t a conscious decision to collect art,” Lucy says. “When Herb and I were on our honeymoon, we went to Palm Springs and saw a painting we liked.”
And that began a lifelong love of art collecting.
“We both really enjoyed it,” she says. “It was entertainment at first and then when could afford to buy, we bought some of our first pieces paid off on time.”
They began to nurture Northwest artists, and bought early pieces from artists at the Pilchuck Glass School who later became famous. Their collection, which Lucy calls “eclectic and whimsical,” has been featured in a book published by the Tacoma Art Museum in 2013, Creating the New Northwest: Selections from the Herb and Lucy Pruzan Collection, written by Rock Hushka and Matthew Kangas.
“We just sort of drifted into collecting art slowly, and it became a passion and we couldn’t stop!” Lucy says.