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Jane Peterson SOLD


Gallery Database:

Jane Peterson (1876-1965). "Zinnias

in Rooster Vase" oil on canvas, 30 x 25,



Curator's Comment:

Nothing could stop Jane Peterson (1876-1965), and among early modern American woman painters she now ranks just below Georgia O'Keeffee, who followed her by little more than a decade. O'Keeffee had Steiglitz, but Peterson had many more mentors. Though she changed her name to Jane from Jennie Christine—she was anything but plain.  She left her birthplace in small town Elgin, Illinois after high school and moved to New York to study at Pratt Institute (where women art students still proudly call themselves "Prattstitutes") with Arthur Wesley Dow himself and then continued under DuMond at the Art Students League. Using a $300 graduation present, Peterson sailed for Europe, where between 1908 and 1909 she was a pupil of Frank Brangwyn in London and continued her studies in Venice--a long way from her birthplace. From Venice, in the summer of 1909, she went to Madrid to paint alongside Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, the Spanish painter known for his high-keyed colors, dazzling whites, and flowing brushwork. Then it was Paris, where she enrolled under Jacques Blanche and Andre L'Hote. She quickly introduced herself to Gertrude and Leo Stein, becoming a regular at their famous artist gatherings, where she met both Picasso and Matisse. In 1925, Peterson married Moritz Bernard Philipp, a lawyer and art patron, who was twenty-five years her senior. Following his death, in 1939, she married, James S. McCarthy, a prominent New Haven physician, whom she later divorced.



Dogwoods topped $100,000 at Christie's


Red Canna's topped $55,000 at Christie's


Zinnia's topped $50,000 at Shannon's

She was impressed with Picasso, but in 1910, she went on to travel and paint with fellow American Maurice Prendergast. His watercolors helped liberate her absolute fascination with color. In 1916, Peterson exhibited work featuring scenes from the Pacific Northwest where she had painted while traveling with Louis Comfort Tiffany, and in 1919 she embarked on an American painting expedition in Tiffany's private railroad car. The artistic excursion began in the exquisite gardens of Tiffany's estate at Laurelton Hall, Oyster Bay, New York. Paintings of the estate by a number of Americans frequently referenced Monet's garden at Giverny, but were more on the scale of Louis Aston Knight's Belleville works.  Peterson's paintings of the gardens were impressionistic, closely echoing Monet's technique. And one of Peterson's most highly regarded masterpieces is in New York's Metropolitan Museum, which owns "Turkish Fountain with Garden (from Louis C. Tiffany Estate, Oyster Bay)."


Peterson was also known to both John Singer Sargent and Childe Hassam--she could paint with the best of the male painters of her day and that impressed the art world. In 1924, Peterson's “Toilette” received rave reviews at the New York Society of Painters exhibition and her one-woman show on Fifth Avenue sold out. In 1925, the New York Times called Jane Peterson, “one of the foremost woman painters in New York.” After 1925, she focused almost exclusively on what she called her “flower portraits,” vibrant floral still lifes, which frequently included opulent backgrounds and rare antique vases. Our painting of “Zinnia's in Rooster Vase” dates from this time. In 1938 Peterson was named the “most outstanding individual of the year” by the American Historical Society. She was only the second woman to receive the honor. By this time, she had won numerous awards, was a member of the National Academy of Design and a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Audubon Artists, Pen & Brush, and the National Association of Women Artists. Her oeuvre includes colorful post -Impressionist landscapes set in Gloucester and on Cape Ann, as well as palm trees on the Florida coast, and European street scenes in Paris, Istanbul and especially Venice. 

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