Sorority seeks contributions to complete artist Cenne’s album

The Daugaviete A!L! sorority is seeking contributions to complete an album of the life’s work of Latvian-Canadian artist Gundega Cenne.

Cenne, a lifelong sorority member, died Dec. 16 in Ottawa’s Queensway Carleton Hospital at the age of 76.

Cenne was an accomplished painter, highly regarded in the Latvian community in North America, according to sorority member Ināra Suuberg. Working at times in oil and at times in acrylic media, she frequently experimented with materials.

Her art reflects a very sensitive woman’s world, largely occupied with children, youth and nature. One senses in her paintings a sorrow for the loss of her homeland and a longing for it. Indra Gubiņa, a Latvian-Canadian writer and art critic who has followed and written reviews of Cenne’s art exhibits from 1966 on, noted that her style and subjects have earned her work a distinct place in the Latvian art world. Furthermore, Cenne has been highly acclaimed on the art scene in Canada, mostly in Ottawa.

Cenne graduated from Concordia University in Montréal, earning the Board of Governors’ Gold Medal for “Creative Expression in Fine Arts.” She worked as a drawing teacher and art lecturer, having received a bachelor of education degree from McGill University, Montréal. Cenne participated in many juried group shows and in 30 solo exhibitions.

Cenne received numerous prizes at home in Canada and abroad. She was honored for her life’s work in 2001 with the Gen. Goppers Award and in 2007 with an award from the Culture Fund of the World Federation of Free Latvians (Pasaules brīvo latviešu apvienība).

Her work is included in the Tom Thomson Memorial Gallery and Museum of Fine Art in Owen Sound, Ontario; the Canadian Consulates in New York and Chicago; the Niagara Art Museum; the Shute Institute in London, Ontario; the Bank of Montréal in Quebec; the Latvian Embassy in Ottawa; Tompson Enterprises, Owen Sound; and in the Traveling Exhibition of Latvian Diaspora Art, Global Society for Latvian Art, as well as in many Latvian homes.

Cenne dedicated the last year of her life to fulfilling a dream of publishing an album of her own work, according to Suuberg. Her paintings were being located and professionally photographed in the United States and Canada. The artist was choosing which of the photographs to include in the project. Noted art historian Māris Brancis came from Latvia in May to meet with her to continue his research on her life and art work in preparing the written material for the publication. However, Cenne did not survive to see the project completed.

The Daugaviete sorority took responsibility for the project’s finances in the United States. With permission from Cenne’s surviving family, Daugaviete is continuing the task so that Gundega Cenne/albums may be completed.

Contributions by check should be made payable to “Korporācija Daugaviete” with a notation that the donation is made in Cenne’s memory, and sent to Sarmīte Straupnieks, 16714 Cobblestone Dr., #202, Lynnwood, WA 98037-6980. The contribution will be dedicated to the project, and the artist’s family will be advised of the gift.

5 thoughts on “Sorority seeks contributions to complete artist Cenne’s album

  1. I met Gundega as a teenager. My mother, Ruth Taggart McGill was her friend, fellow artist and the curator of the Tom Thompson Memorial Gallery at the time. I was struck by her her delicate beauty and courage. What you have not mentioned is that she was a quadriplegic and painted often in pain, with a special harness on her hand to wield the brushes, designed I believe by her brother. My great Aunt,Alix Larry, owns one of her oils,”Young Girl Smelling Flowers”. Aunt Alix is moving to Vancouver at the end of August from Toronto where she now resides. The painting hangs in her bedroom. My mother died of cancer at age 63,close to the age I am now. Mom always called her Gundy. I am glad she led such a rich and well rewarded life.

  2. I was sorry to learn of Gundega’s passing. I have two beautiful paintings that Gundega created in 1976 and 1982. The 1976 painting is of two lovers that was presented to me on my wedding day. The 1982 painting was to welcome the birth of my first born daughter. I treasure both paintings.

  3. I have heard some stories about Gundy Cenne from my grandmother Evelyn Penny who was also with the Tom Thompson Memorial Art Gallery in Owen Sound. I have a beautiful picture – very bright and vibrant colours of cows huddled together in a field all looking out at the viewer. Can anyone help me get contact information for the sorority. I would like to send them a picture and provide them detail on this work if they are doing a listing as it is very different than the few other paintings I have seen online and definitely something that should be remembered of hers.

  4. I was privileged to receive art lessons from Gundega, when I was a teenager. starting in 1965 when I was 15 in Owen Sound. I had a painting entered in a IODE young artists competition, and was lucky to win a small scholarship. My father, Mel Buchanan, knew Dr. Cenne, and Gundega offered to provide me some lessons. She was an amazing woman and her paintings were inspiring to me. I remember her with love.

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