Fremantle Stuff > people > Kathleen O'Connor (1876-1978). See also C.Y. O'Connor.
Kathleen (Kate) Letitia O'Connor (14 September 1876–24 August 1968) was the third of the eight children of the marriage of Charles Yelverton O'Connor and Susan Letitia NESS. She was born in Hokitika, Aotearoa, where her father was a civil engineer.
O'Connor was born in Hokitika, New Zealand, the daughter of Charles Yelverton O'Connor and his wife Susan Laetitia O'Connor (née Ness). She was educated at Marsden School, Wellington and by private tuition in Perth from 1891, including lessons from artist Florence Fuller.
She studied painting in Perth Technical School under James Linton and at the Bushey School, England, under Hubert von Herkomer. She worked for a time in fashionable department stores in Sydney then moved to Paris, France where she lived (apart from the war years which she spent, miserably, in London) from 1907 to 1950.
She exhibited regularly at the Salon d'Automne in Paris from 1911 as well as the Salon Française and Société des Femmes Peintres et Sculpteurs. In Perth she frequently exhibited at the Claude Hotchin Galleries, including several one-woman shows.
She returned to Australia permanently in 1955, living in Perth, but reluctantly. She probably never forgave that city for the callous treatment her father received which led to his suicide. She resented being away from Paris but could no longer afford to live there; her work was no longer fashionable and her private sources of income had largely dried up. She maintained, as far as possible, a Parisian lifestyle and was considered to affect an air of superiority. She could not countenance being buried in Australian soil and had her ashes scattered over the sea.
She is represented in all Australian State galleries and, largely as a result of bequests by Sir Claude Hotchin, in most Western Australian regional galleries.
The first house in which Kathleen lived in Fremantle (in 1891) was Park Bungalow in Quarry Street, overlooking the river, and backing onto Fremantle Park, as its name implies. The family moved to Beach Street, to Yeldham House then back to Park Bungalow, then finally to Plympton House from which O'Connor rode out to his death in 1902.
'Park Bungalow'. John Dowson, from whom I got the photo above, says that the painting is in Parliament House Perth.
The self-portrait c. 1935 (above) is taken from Wikipedia. The photograph by Richard Woldendorp is from Mike Lefroy 2010, 'Hard landings', Fremantle Studies, 6: 93-104.
Evans, A.G. 2001, C. Y. O'Connor: His Life and Times, UWAP.
Hasluck, Alexandra 1965, C. Y. O'Connor, OUP.
Hutchings, Patrick 1967, 'Last link with Impressionism', Bulletin, Sydney, 4 March.
Lefroy, Mike 2010, 'Hard landings', Fremantle Studies, 6: 93-104.
Tauman, Merab 1978, The Chief: C. Y. O'Connor, 1843-1902, UWAP.
Wikipedia page for Kathleen O'Connor.
Watson, James 1988, 'O'Connor, Kathleen Laetitia (1876-1968)', ADB; with bibliography.
McCulloch, Alan 1968, Encyclopaedia of Australian Art, Hutchinson, London.
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