Peterson, Jane (American, 1876-1965)
Oriental Poppies, Blue Chinese Vase
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O. Rundle Gilbert label on verso inscribed: No. 544 / Oriental Poppies, Blue Chinese
Jane Peterson is considered to be one of America’s leading female Impressionist and Expressionist painters. Originally from Elgin, Illinois, Peterson attended Pratt Institute in 1895 and later studied watercolor and oil painting at the Art Students League under Frank DuMond in New York City. Like many artists, Peterson was drawn to the allure of Paris, which was the epicenter of the art world before World War I. Upon her arrival in 1907, artistic movements such as Post Impressionism, Expressionism, and Fauvism were flourishing- and the beginnings of Cubism were just emerging. Peterson held a studio in Montparnasse, just around the corner from the salon belonging to American writer and art connoisseur Gertrude Stein. Peterson became friendly with Gertrude and her brother Leo, and often attended their gatherings with literary and artist-guests, including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. In 1908 Peterson held a solo exhibition at the Société des Artistes Français where her artwork gained much acclaim and resulted in a solo show at St. Botolph Club in Boston, Massachusetts the following year.
Peterson traveled abroad several times where she studied under many famous and influential teachers, including in London and Venice with Frank Brangwyn, in Madrid with Joaquin Sorolla, and in Paris under Jacques Blanche and Andre L’Hote. Of all her teachers, the artwork of Sorolla had the most influence on her painting style, with her incorporation of bold colors and layers of loose brushwork.
During the early 20th century, many female artists painted domestic scenes. Unencumbered by domestic responsibilities, Peterson instead traveled the world, painting people, landscapes and city scenes she encountered. In 1910, Peterson traveled to Egypt and Algiers in North Africa- an extremely bold trip for a woman to do alone at that time. She traveled extensively throughout her life, with several trips to Europe as well as British Columbia, Alaska, and throughout the United States from Maine to Florida. Peterson also spent six months painting in Turkey.
In 1913, Peterson started teaching watercolor painting at the Art Students League, a position she held for six years. She also became the Drawing Supervisor of the Brooklyn Public Schools. Over the course of her life, Peterson had over eighty solo shows. Her artwork is housed in important private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York; the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Hirshorn Museum, Washington D.C.; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Terra Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, among many others.