After completing an apprenticeship as a machinist, he studied under Rudolf Koch and Richard Throll at the school of arts and crafts in his home town of Offenbach from 1922 to 1924. In 1925, Garvé transferred to the School of Arts and Crafts in Frankfurt, which was renamed the “Städelschule” . There, Garvé studied under Johann Vincenz Cissarz. In 1926, he became one of the first students in the master class run by Max Beckmann. Garvé became a member of the Association of German Artists and was active as a freelance artist.
The critics were initially positive, but their position shifted swiftly and his work was soon being vilified as “decayed art” and “degenerate”. After the dissolution of the Städelschule, Garvé’s response was to choose inner emigration, and between 1934 and 1939 he lived a withdrawn life on the Baltic Coast. In 1939 he returned to the Städelschule to study graphic art with Franz Karl Delavilla until he was called up in 1941. Garvé returned to Frankfurt am Main in 1945, where he was tasked with helping to rebuild the Städelschule.