Zander was manager of the Redfern Galleries in London and organised the 'Exhibition of British Contemporary Art' and accompanied it to Australia in 1933. She studied at 'la Grande Chaumière' and went on painting trips with Margaret Olley. Zander also played a role in design and participated in the 1941 ABC radio talk series, "Design in Everyday Things" with Frank Medworth and George Farwell.
painter, commercial artist, gallery manager, art writer and curator, was born on 4 February 1893 in Coleraine, Victoria, only child of Bertram Peel and Louise, née Campbell. Following her father’s death, her mother married Mr Cope who lived in Kew. Clarice attended an art school in Prahran then obtained a well-paid job doing fashion drawings for the Melbourne department store, Buckley & Nunn. On 10 October 1915 Clarice Peel married Charles Noble Leonard Zander, who enlisted at the outbreak of war and was severely wounded at Fromalles. A distraught Clarice boarded the last ship permitted to carry women and joined her husband in England for his convalescence. After the war they returned to Victoria and took up a soldier settlement block at Red Cliffs near Mildura in the mallee belt, built a house of saplings and hessian, then spent the next two years digging out mallee roots ('emu bobbing’) in order to plant vines. On 29 November 1921 their daughter, Jocelyn, was born.
Later they returned to Melbourne, to live in Murphy Street, South Yarra. Charles suffered personality problems after the war and in 1925 he decided to go abroad. He died in Montreal, Canada in 1929. Left to support herself and a young daughter, Zander returned to fashion drawing. She also managed the New Gallery in Elizabeth Street established by James MacDonald and his wife, Maud. In 1930 she and Jocelyn travelled to London, where she worked as a freelance journalist, then as secretary and manager of the Redfern Galleries in Bond Street, introducing artists such as Sidney Nolan, Loudon Sainthill and Donald Friend to the gallery.
Zander organised the 'Exhibition of British Contemporary Art’ and accompanied it to Australia in 1933. Enormous press coverage opened a debate -which became known as 'the Zandrian War’ – as conservative audiences voiced their displeasure. On returning to England, she was appointed Press Relations Officer to the Royal Academy. She had become very friendly with cartoonist Will (Bill) Dyson in Melbourne, cared for him when he was ill in 1931-32 and remained close to him all his life, although they never married, partly because of Betty Dyson 's opposition to anyone supplanting her saintly mother. Bill gave Clarice a cottage in Hampshire, which she transformed into an attractive retreat and left her a bequest in a new will. It was still unsigned when he died in January 1938 and daughter Betty Dyson refused to honour his wishes. Clarice was left with a posthumous portrait of Bill by Tom Dugdale (Jocelyn Plate collection), which she always treasured.
In the late 1930s Clarice Zander travelled to Germany and gained access to Hitler’s banned art; later, in London, she promoted the 'Degenerate Art’ exhibition, largely by refugee artists. In 1940 she and Jocelyn returned to Sydney. There Clarice lectured on Cultural Propaganda for the British Council and, in 1941, organised 'An Englishman’s Home’ at David Jones Art Gallery. In 1942 she studied Anthropology, Oriental History and Greek Archaeology at Sydney University and commenced art classes with Desiderius Orban. In 1943 she gave an ABC talk, 'The New Art of Planning’, in which she urged artists to form some sort of policy for the post-war years. Living next door to the boarding house Merioola, which housed a variety of dancers, musicians and artists such as Mitty Lee Brown and Anne Wienholt , she and Jocelyn were involved in the activities of the grou
In 1946 Zander returned to London and worked with Margaret Bean on the broadsheet Tomorrow’s News . She attended painting classes at the Chelsea Poly and frequently visited France, to study at la Grande Chaumière and go on painting expeditions with Margaret Olley , Moya Dyring and David Strachan. Some competent landscape and still life works survive from this period (Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery). In 1956 she returned to Australia in ill health. She lived in Paddington and with her daughter and son-in-law, Jocelyn and Carl Plate, at Woronora until her death.