Cornelia de Gavere Biography

Cornelia de Gavere (known as "Cor") was born in Batavia, Java, East Indies on January 25, 1877. Her parents, Dutch missionaries, died when she was six. She grew up in Groningen, Holland, where she lived with an uncle and aunt, who were against her wish to be an artist. Despite this opposition, she drew and painted in her spare time, while working as an assistant pharmacist in Amsterdam. Finally, at age thirty, in 1907, she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Art, the Hague, after receiving encouragement from a Dutch artist, George Windt.

Upon completion of her studies, where she won honors, de Gavere moved to the small Dutch artist's colony at Blaricum to paint. In London, in 1911, she exhibited at the Annual Derby Exhibition; and the London Salon between 1912 and 1914. She also exhibited at the British Royal Academy. Also in 1914, she studied in Paris with Charles Guerin, but was caught up in World War I, and served with the Red Cross there.

In 1920, De Gavere immigrated to the United States with Wilhelmina Van Tonnigen, a friend during the years of her study at the Dutch Academy. During thirty-five years in Santa Cruz, California, de Gavere was a founder of the Santa Cruz Art League, while working as a librarian. She painted nearly every day. She found a painting companion in Margaret Rogers, the two making 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.

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.

De Gavere 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, 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).

In: Santa Cruz City Museum and Historical Society

References: 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).

Source: Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, "An Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West"