Received an email last week from an art gallery in California wanting to purchase any artwork by famous local Marietta artist Gina Knee. Received a letter from them also in 2010.
Gina Knee was born Virginia Schnaufer on Oct. 31, 1898, in Marietta to a very well-to-do German family that was in the oil and lumber business.
As a child growing up in what was known as the Henry Fearing House at 131 Gilman Ave., painting and visual arts became a big part of Gina's life, at that time her parents thought refined women were not intended to have careers. In fact, her parents arranged marriage for her at an early age. Consequently, at 14 years old she married Goodlow Mcdonald of Marietta in 1912, and spent 18 years focusing her life around him instead of art.
In 1930, her marriage to Mcdonald ended in divorce. As a new single woman, Gina was able to look at her life from a completely new vantage point, allowing her to find her true passion to become an artist. In 1930, Gina moved from Marietta to New Mexico where she met, and later married, Ernest Knee, whom she also later divorced.
In 1935, she changed her name from Virginia to Gina and started signing her art work as Gina Knee,
After divorcing Ernest Knee, Gina married the famous artist Alexander Brooks, whose paintings along with hers sell today for thousands of dollars.
The final years of Gina Knee's life were spent between Georgia and New York City, finally settling in the Hamptons in 1948, where she stayed actively involved in the art world.
Gina Knee died on her 84th birthday on Oct. 31, 1982, at a hospital in Suffolk, N.Y. Today, her artwork is being sought by art collectors around the country, including Sullivan Art Gallery in Santa Barbara, Calif. If you have artwork signed by Virginia Schnaufer or Gina Knee, contact me or telephone Sullivan art Gallery at (805) 730-1460.
Readers, much of Gina Knee's artwork today is in museums in California, Texas, New Mexico, South Carolina, Colorado, and other states. There's no mention of her work ever being on display in any museum in Ohio. Several of her paintings have sold through some of the largest auction houses as Doyles in New York, Bonhams & Butterfield in California for thousands of dollars.
Auction prices realized
- Postcard of the Beverly flood, 1910, $14.
- 1944 Marietta High School yearbook, $23.50.
- 1907 postcard of the Bell View Hotel, $11.50.
- 1907 postcard of flooded Congregational church in Marietta (marked Clogston Art Store), $10.50.
- Brick marked Cisler Brick Works, $1.
- Charm (sterling) for charm bracelet, reading Campus Martius, $10.
Larry Koon is the author of several price guide books on antiques and collectibles. His column appears every Monday on Life. Send letters to Treasure in the Attic, c/o The Marietta Times, 700 Channel Lane, Marietta 45750; or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. When writing, send a complete description of the item, along with size, color, any markings on the item along with condition the item is in.