Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cor de Gravere: Dutch Portraitist and Landscape Painter

Cor de Gravere
1877-1955
A tenacious woman who was able to overcome almost unimaginable adversity and prevailed on her own terms, Cornelia de Gavere was born in Battavia, Java, East Indies in 1877. She was the daughter of Dr. Cornelius and Marchje (Berghuis) de Gavere, Dutch missionaries. Cor lost both parents and two brothers when she was just six years old. The young Cor was sent to Groningen, Holland with her sister to live with a stern aunt and uncle who took in the orphaned children. They promptly sent her sister off to boarding school, so childhood was a lonely time for Cor. Separated from her sister, she was sent off to boarding school as well. Her developing interest in art during these years was viewed with disfavor by her uncle. He prevailed upon her to take a position as an assistant pharmacist where she worked for a time in Amsterdam, although she continued to draw and paint whenever possible.
In 1907, at the age of 30, Cor committed to the study of art and she entered the Royal Academy of the Hague. She received a number of honors while attending school there. Upon completion, de Gavere moved to the small Dutch artist's colony at Blaricum to paint and she studied in paris for three years. During these years she established a lasting friendship with Wilhelmina Van Tonnigen, who gave her the motherly encouragement and support that she had missed in her early childhood. 

In the year 1911, de Gavere exhibited at the Annual Derby Exhibition and at the London Salon between 1912 and 1914. She also exhibited at the British Royal Academy. In addition, in 1914, Cor studied in Paris with Charles Guerin in his atelier, but as World War I raged, served with the Red Cross as a volunteer nurse in Paris.
Cor de Gravere
Santa Cruz Portrait
ca. n.d.
Oil on Canvas
24 x 30 inches
In 1920, at age 43, de Gavere immigrated to the United States with Van Tonnigen, her friend during the years study at the Dutch Academy, and two women were warmly welcomed by the local Dutch community in the Santa Cruz area in California. During the 1920s, de Gavere exhibited as one of the ''Santa Cruz Three'' with Rogers and Leonora Penniman. Beginning in 1928, when the shows were initiated, she exhibited frequently at the Santa Cruz Art League's statewide exhibitions. Her other exhibitions included those of the SFAA; California State Fair, Sacramento; West Coast Arts, Inc., Los Angeles; Oakland Art Gallery; GGIE; and Society for Sanity in Art, San Francisco.

Cor de Gravere
Twin Lakes Beach, Santa Cruz
ca. 1920s
Oil on canvas board
 10 x 12 inches
During her thirty-five year residency in Santa Cruz, de Gavere worked as a librarian at both the Seabright and Garfield branch libraries, and was a founder of the Santa Cruz Art League. She painted nearly every day. Cor found a painting companion in Margaret Rogers, one of the guiding forces of the Santa Cruz Art League through the 1920s through the 1940s. The two artists made frequent excursions to paint locally and, on occasion, in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere in the state. Most of her work resulted from trips with Rogers, although she also painted portraits. Her landscapes had titles like Turtleback Mountain; Mountain Meadow; Big Sur Cypress; Sierra Camp; The Three Graces; Blue Lupine Field; Pleasure Point, Moran Lake; Sierra Snow Bank; and Eucalyptus Meadow. 
Cor de Gravere
On the Ridge
ca. 1920s
Oil
14 x 19 inches

Cor de Gavere
California Oak
ca. n.d.
Oil on canvas
16 x 20 inches
An "everywoman," Cor wrote poetry, played music, and was active in local theater. Her work is represented in the collections of the Santa Cruz Historical Society and the Santa Cruz City Museum. Cornelia de Gavere died on June 25, 1955, while visiting family in The Hague, Netherlands.

Member: West Coast Arts; Berkeley Art League; Bay Region Art Association

Exhibited: Royal Academy (London), 1911; London Salon, 1912-14; SFAA, 1924; Oakland Art Gallery, 1928, 1934; Santa Cruz Art League, 1934; Society for Sanity in Art, CPLH, 1940; Santa Cruz Public Library, 1974 (retrospective).

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Sources
Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Cor de Gavere, Artist. 1877-1955, Nikki Silva, 1984, http://www.santacruzpl.org/history/articles/222/, retrieved June 4, 2014.
Trotter Galleries, Biography Cornelia de Gavere, Artist. 1877-1955, http://www.trottergalleries.com/artistbio.asp?at=CorneliadeGavere&InvNo=, retrieved June 5, 2014.
California View Fine Arts, Cor de Gavere, http://www.californiaviewfinearts.com/c_d_gavere.htm, retrieved June 5, 2014.
An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West, Phil Kovinick and Marion Yoshiki Kovinick, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1998.
WWWAA; Benezit; Johnson &. Greutzner; Petteys; Moure; Hughes; Cor de Gavere; Hethcock; Rogers; Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, 18 Feb 1931, 9 Jan 1949, 2,4 Jun 1951, 18 Nov 1951, 4 Nov 1952, 1 Feb 1953, 1 Jul 1955, 5 Jul 1955, 28 Mar 1971, 4 Aug 1974;11 Aug 1974; Calif State Library card (1925).

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