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CUMMING, Kate Taylor

Ingersoll, Ontario, 1889
London, Ontario, 1971
Biography synopsis
Known for her remarkable ability to paint from life, especially in miniature, from a very young age, Kate Taylor Cumming was the recipient of a number of awards and honours. After winning the Pile Gold Medal for proficiency and promise in art from her Chatham, Ontario high school, she enrolled at the Detroit College of Art where she saw and painted her first miniatures. When her family moved to Toronto, she continued her studies at the Ontario College of Art, where she received a number of scholarships and was appointed Associate in the Department of Drawing and Painting upon graduation. Although she also painted larger works, miniatures were her specialty, especially after a case of nephritis left her with limited arm movement. Throughout her life, Cumming attempted to sell her works, even opening her own studio in St. Catharines, Ontario, but she had several setbacks, including the theft of cases of her miniatures on two occasions. In 1922 she married a Methodist minister; they had three children and moved often, living in several small towns in Ontario. During this period she lamented the lack of time she had to devote to her art. Perhaps the highlight of her career was the commission she received from the Federated Women's Institute of Canada to paint a miniature of Lady Tweedsmuir, wife of the Governor-General, for which she won the King George VI medal. Her works were shown at the Royal Canadian Academy exhibition (1915-17), with the Canadian National Exhibition (1922), in the Annual Western Ontario Exhibition (1951 and 1956), in a solo exhibition at the London Public Library and Museum (1953) and in "two-man" shows with Greg Curnoe at the McIntosh Gallery (1962) and Mabel Dejean at the Fred Landon Branch Library, London, Ont. (1967). Her health gradually began to deteriorate in the 1960s and she died in 1971 after having been bedridden for four years.
Media used
Detroit College of Art, 1910 - 1911
Ontario College of Art & Design (formerly Ontario School of Art), 1912 - 1917 (under F. McGillivray Knowles, G.A. Reid, A. Forrester, Arthur Lismer, J.W. Beattie and Emmanuel Hahn)
London Public Library and Art Gallery, 1965 (under Dr. Clare Bice)
Ontario College of Art Alumni Association, 1917
File & Archive locations
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
London Art Gallery, ON
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
"Lucan Miniature Painter Gives Exhibit in London" The London Free Press London, ON: 6 March 1950.
"Parsonage Scene of Blossom Tea" Review (Woodstock-Ingersoll) Woodstock and Ingersoll, ON: 12 June 1948.
Crawford, L.. "G. Curnoe and K. T. Cumming at the McIntosh Memorial Art Gallery, University of Western Ontario, London" Canadian Art Vol. 20 (March/April 1963): 86-87..
Crawford, Lenore. "Little Originality Seen in Landscape Paintings" London Free Press 7 November, 1964: np..
Crawford, Lenore. "Miniatures Lost In New Exhibit" The London Free Press London, ON: (28 November 1962): 17.
Houck, Gladys. "Educational Subjects Tops With Many WO Instituters" The London Free Press London, ON: 8 June 1951.
Reaney, James. "Exhibition recalls women painters" The London Free Press London, Ontario: 21 February 2007.

Writings by
Cumming, Kate Taylor. Kate Taylor Cumming, 1889-1971: a retrospective exhibition of her miniatures and other paintings London, ON: London Regional Art and Historical Museums, 1989.

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