Art Creative 01

Marina Graves

September 13, 1930 ~ July 29, 2022 (age 91)



Marina Graves (born Menso Boissevain) was born in Colorado Springs to Charles Boissevain and Ruth Davis Boissevain. She graduated from Palmer High School in 1948 and graduated from Harvard University in 1952.

After graduating, she embarked on what she would later call some of the greatest trips of her life. Alone, she drove from Colorado Springs through Mexico, Central America, and South America. She particularly loved Mendoza, Argentina, and she often described its beauty, cuisine, and friendly residents. She also traveled extensively in Europe, especially France, living in Paris, Amsterdam, and elsewhere. She loved food and wine and spoke fondly of the many meals she enjoyed during her travels. Marina was a brilliant linguist, and she learned to speak French, Dutch, and Spanish during her travels.

When she returned to the States, she settled in Denver, where she made an enduring impact on the contemporary arts scene. She was the primary inspiration for, and a founding board member of, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art. She was one of the founders of the Denver Invisible Museum, the Month of Printmaking, and Eye-Level magazine. Marina encouraged, pushed, and challenged aspiring artists to perfect their crafts, and many well-known and accomplished Denver artists, curators, and gallery owners cite her as an early inspiration.

Marina loved to garden, and she helped run Denver Urban Gardens’ first garden, the Umatilla Garden. Her cooking skills were legendary, and she often included mushrooms that she had foraged in her meals. She was an expert in wines, and for a time served as winemaker at a Colorado winery and as a judge at wine competitions.

Perhaps more than anything else, Marina will be remembered for her brilliant mind and originality. She was stubbornly herself and refused to water down her identity. She was a true pioneer in contemporary arts and for the LGBTQ community. She had a dry, incisive, and cutting sense of humor, and until her death at 91 remained witty, occasionally acid-tongued, and devoted to the arts.

Marina was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Maria Boissevain La Farge, and her half-sister Antionette Dangler Newman, and she is mourned by her extended family and her many friends and admirers in the Denver arts community.

A celebration of Marina’s life will be held at RedLine Contemporary Art Center on August 28, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. Friends, family, and admirers are encouraged to come and share their favorite Marina stories. As one friend remarked, she was a living piece of performance art. The tales are sure to be entertaining, remarkable, and unlike any others.

Donations in Marina’s memory may be made to RedLine Contemporary Art Center,, or MCA Denver,


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