SARA KOLB DANNER (1894-1969)

Sara Kolb Danner producedg watercolors, ink drawings, and steel engravings, as well as oils. Her work was heavily influenced by the French Impressionists. She was also a poet, her poetry was regularly published in “The Saturday Review,” and a book combining both paintings and poetry called “Gallery Tour” was published by Stanford University Press in 1952.

Danner was born October 2, 1894 in New York City (Morrisania, now part of The Bronx).

Sara and her family moved to South Philadelphia when she was two and lived several years at 1318 Ritner Street. Around the age of six, she contracted diphtheria, which left her with a punctured right ear drum and chronic mastoiditis. This condition would trouble her for the rest of her life. The sale of her families business, The Kolb Bakery, to the General Baking Company in 1913 made the family relatively wealthy.

With the encouragement of her father, Sara Kolb entered the Philadelphia School of Design in 1912, where she was a pupil of Henry Bayley Snell and also enrolled in the summer program at the Pennsylvania School of the Fine Arts. She later studied at the Massachusetts Normal Art School under George L. Noyes. She first exhibited publicly at this time.

In 1923, Kolb won a prize at the Indiana State Fair, held a one-woman show, and had her paintings exhibited the Art Institute in Chicago. The following year she was operated on for her mastoid condition with serious consequences, for she was hospitalized for the next seven months.

In 1926, she and her husband moved to Santa Barbara, CA. And they were welcomed into the local art community, discovering a fellow Philadelphia artist, Colin Cooper, and the portrait painter Giovanni Troccoli, who had been their next-door neighbor in Boston.

When Clarence Hinkle moved to Santa Barbara in 1935, they became close friends, Hinkle serving as a mentor for the rest of Sara’s life. Her first one-woman show in Santa Barbara was held in 1928.

On the death of her husband in 1946, my mother was undecided on living in Santa Barbara (where her friends were) or Philadelphia (where her family lived). The next several years were spend moving between these two locations. My family lived in New Hope, Pennsylvania in the years 1949-1950 and the studio they rented was the upstairs flat in the home of Fern Coppedge (1883-1951), the well-known New Hope Impressionist and fellow student of Snell. The paintings of these years consequently feature both East and West Coast subjects. 1952 was a particularly productive year, when she rented a studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Her painting “Lambertville” won the best-of-show prize at the Hoosier Salon in 1951. Sara Kolb Danner remarried in 1956, becoming Mrs. Edward Logan Campbell. She continued to paint until just before her death in Santa Barbara on January 5, 1969.

Credit: Her son Peter.

Skip to content