Ruth Schaffner, 81, contemporary art dealer in California and Africa. Born Ruth Staudinger in Germany, she fled to France at the outset of World War II and was educated there. Later she moved to New York City where she was a commercial photographer of children. One of her major projects was photographing youngsters for the classic series of Ivory Soap commercials. She married Joseph Schaffner of the Hart Schaffner & Marx clothing fortune, and after his death in 1972 opened her art gallery. During the 1970s, she operated her gallery on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles and in the 1980s moved it to Santa Barbara. She also owned and operated the Watatu Gallery in Nairobi, Kenya, where she encouraged young African artists and became an expert on contemporary African art. On March 15 in Nairobi of a heart attack.