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 Minnie Gattinger  (1857 - 1944)

About: Minnie Gattinger


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Lived/Active: Tennessee      Known for: painting

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Biography from Williams American Art Galleries:
Minnie Gattinger was the daughter of Dr. Augustin Gattinger (1825 – 1903), a botanist and medical doctor who, in 1901, published the first extensive catalog of the botany of Tennessee entitled Flora of Tennessee and Philosophy of Botany. Augustin, a German, met George Dury, a young aspiring artist, at the University of Munich.  Augustin married Dury’s sister, Josephine in 1849, and subsequently the Gattingers moved to the United States along with Dury and his new wife. 

The Dury’s and Gattinger’s lived at Cave Spring in East Tennessee in the early 1850’s. After spending some 15 years practicing medicine in Chattanooga and East Tennessee, Gattinger’s pro-Union sympathies forced him to flee to Nashville in 1864.  He served as assistant surgeon in the United States Army and was subsequently appointed State Librarian from 1864 – 1869.  Augustin Gattinger’s contributions to the annals of Tennessee history are extensive.  With this very limited biographical statement of Augustin, one has a better understanding of the importance of his daughter, Minnie, who was born in Roane County, Tennessee in 1862. (See note below) 

Minnie Gattinger studied with George Dury and with Carl Brenner at the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.  Then she went to the Académie Delécluse in Paris where she exhibited at the Salon des Champs Elysees in 1896, as well as Club Americaine in that same year.  At the Académie, she studied under Delecluse, Delance and Callot. 

For about two years in the late 1880’s, she taught both fine art and German at the Sherman Institute and later at Boscobel College.  Finally, she settled in as director of the art department at Vanderbilt University and at Peabody College for teachers in 1897. 

“The art exhibition of the 1897 Tennessee Centennial, an exposition honoring the State’s admission to the Union, was the first event to open new opportunities for painting and art in Tennessee....The Centennial’s Parthenon pavilion housed over one-thousand artworks on loan from collections outside of the State and from around the world....The five primary displays of the Parthenon exhibition contained the work of more than five hundred artists, of whom only eighteen were born or worked in Tennessee....Of the 321 artists represented in the Paintings by American Artists Exhibit, fifteen had lived or worked in Tennessee....Work ...was shown, along with paintings by seven Nashvillians...Minnie Gattinger (1857 – 1944)....”***

She was listed as a member of the Nashville Art Association in 1914, and also, in 1914, she was listed as Chairman, Art Section Woman’s Department, Centennial Park, Tennessee State Fair (September 21 to September 26) Nashville, Tennessee. Also, Minnie was one of the painting exhibitors in this Fair.  Records indicate that Ms. Gattinger was very active in the fine art and  academic communities in Nashville during the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century.  
*Note:  References are conflicting on Minnie Gattinger’s date of birth.  Dates of 1857, 1862, 1863, and 1864 are found on documents; however, after careful research and analysis, 1857 is the probable date since Minnie was granted a certificate (not a diploma) from the Nashville High School in 1870.  

Special Collections, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University, Augustin Gattinger Papers, Nashville, Tennessee.,, Minnie Gattinger, Tennessee., 1900 United States Federal Census, Gattinger, Nashville, Tennessee.
Friends of Metropolitan Archives of  Nashville & Davidson County, Graduates of the Nashville Public Schools 1860 – 1888,  Nashville Archives, Minnie Gattinger.
Twelfth Census of the United States, Schedule No. 1. – Population, Tennessee, Davidson County, Nashville, 2 June 1900, Gattinger.
Falk, Who Was Who in American Art, 1564 – 1975.
Fink, American Art at the Nineteenth Century Paris Salons.
Halley, Dr. Augustin Gattinger, "The Pioneer Botanist of Tennessee," from the American Historical Magazine for April, 1904.
***West & Binnicker, eds., A History of Tennessee Arts: Creating Traditions, Expanding Horizons, “Painting in Twentieth-Century Tennessee” by Celia Walker, Vanderbilt University.

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