Zena Kavin Biography

Zena Kavin




Zena Kavin, painter, printmaker, weaver, and illustrator, was born in Berkeley, California on October 25, 1912. She studied at the California School of Fine Arts and with Aleksei Kravchenko in Moscow. Kavin spent four years in New Mexico working under the Works Progress Administration. In 1940 she painted two frescoes replicating kiva murals for display at Coronado State Monument, New Mexico. As a printmaker she worked in etching, lithography, and woodcut. It was late in life when she turned to weaving, creating tapestries.

In 1940 she wed painter and art teacher, Jon Cornin, and they settled in Oakland, California. They collaborated and, under the pseudonym Corka, produced cartoons for the New Yorker, Saturday Evening Post, and Collier's. She produced woodcuts for letterpress printed books and illustrated The Painter's Credo: Selected Notes by Jon Cornin.

Kavin was a member of the San Francisco Art Association and participated in eight of the association's exhibitions between 1935 and 1951. In 1935, she exhibited an etching and two drawings. That same year she was included in the inaugural exhibition for the San Francisco Museum of Art. Her work was also exhibited in the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in San Diego, and the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. Her work is represented in the collections of the Davis Art Center, the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Oakland Museum of California.

Zena Kavin Cornin died in Oakland, California on April 9, 2003.