Tonsberg was born in Boston on February 3, 1902 and was trained in her native city, where she studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Then in New York City she studied at the Art Students League under William McNulty (1884-1963), where he taught, beginning in 1931. Leon Kroll (1884-1974) was her teacher at the National Academy of Design. There, some of Kroll’s superb skills as a draftsman and figure painter would have rubbed off.
Tonsberg was active in several Massachusetts arts organizations: the Rockport Art Association, the Gloucester Society of Artists, the Guild of Boston Artists, and the North Shore Arts Association. At the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1933 Tonsberg exhibited Wet Evening, Copley Square. In 1934 she showed Rainy Night, Boston and Indian Pipes at the PAFA, while A Stormy Day appeared at the National Academy’s spring show, also in 1934. Then Tonsberg participated in the Springfield Art League’s annual exhibition of 1935.
Her work appears in the Worcester Art Museum and in Boston high schools. Tonsberg was hired as technical director at Hatfield’s Color Shop in Boston and later, Vose Galleries gave her a one-woman show in 1960.
Submitted by Richard H. Love and Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D.
Gertrude Tonsberg was born on February 3, 1902 and died on April 4, 1973.
Information provided by James R. Bakker Antiques who handled the artist's estate.