Sophie Gengembre ANDERSON

1823—1903

Born in Paris, Anderson studied under Steuben, and then moved with her French architect father and English mother to America at the outbreak of the revolution of 1848. As a successful portrait painter herself in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, she married the English artist Walter ANDERSON, and they moved to England in 1854 (living in London, Cumbria and Surrey).

In 1871, due to her ill health, the Andersons moved to Capri, returning in 1894 to settle in Falmouth, Cornwall. From Wood Lane Cottage she continued to paint and submit paintings to London exhibitions. On her death in 1903, at the age of 79 (GRO Index), she was buried in the cemetery at Swanvale in Falmouth.

Anderson has the distinction of being the first woman painter to have her work purchased by a public institution: the Liverpool Corporation acquired her painting Elaine in 1871 (Gaze).  A world record price of over £1,000,000 for her work was achieved by No Walk Today at Sotheby's in 2008.

In October 2011 an important still-life by Anderson, 'Roses', was gifted to Falmouth Art Gallery by the Art Fund, in memory of Brian STEWART, director of the Gallery from 2000 until his untimely death in December 2010. Painted in 1894, after her move to Falmouth, this work has special significance as it is believed to have been exhibited at the original Falmouth Art Gallery in that year.