Gina Knee was essentially a self taught artist, other than a few drawing classes she took at the Arts Students League in New York City. She came from a wealthy family and social constraints made most pursuits, outside of marriage and children, difficult for most women at that time. She followed the expected path of marriage, though she eventually left the marriage after 10 years. She then she divorced, which was shocking to 1930’s society.
1930 found Gina in New York City, where she attended a John Marin exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz's gallery. 32 of Marin’s compelling watercolors, painted in a modernist manner, had been done the prior year when Marin had visited Taos, New Mexico. Knee then traveled to New Mexico in 1931, intending to stay only a few weeks but ultimately remaining for a decade, finding that the artist colony there supported her burgeoning ambition to become a full-fledged artist.
While in New Mexico Knee studied and honed her art practice. She also married the photographer, Earnest Knee, whom she later divorced. She learned many techniques from the artist Ward Lockwood, who had been a student and friend of John Marin’s, and this was an impetus for the beginning of her artistic career. Watercolor and gouache were the primary mediums for Knee and she used them predominantly during her career.
Along with many other talented women artists of her generation who were marginalized, Knee’s work is currently enjoying a resurgence of interest and critical appreciation.
1938 Solo Show Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
1940, 46, 47 Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1946, 48, 55 Brooklyn Museum, New York City, NY
1943 Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
1941-44 Los Angeles Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
1945 San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
1947 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
1948 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
1953 Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
1963 Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX
1965 Newark Museum of Art, Newark, NJ