Considered one of the most important American artists of her day and beyond, Jane Peterson’s art contains elements of the various schools she formally studied and discovered through individual exploration. The influence of Fauvism, impressionism, expressionism and the cubist movement all resonant within her works which defy tight classification.
Born in Illinois, Peterson studied at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute and with Frank Vincent Dumond. She traveled often to Europe and sought instruction from the leading practitioners of the emerging styles in Paris. She first exhibited in 1909 in Boston, and shortly after in New York City. Both were successful, and her work was singled out as the best of show with the New York Society of Painters in 1922. She was named in 1938 as “most outstanding individual of the year” by the American Historical Society for her artistic achievements. From 1909 through the 1938 she held more than 100 exhibitions.
Peterson taught painting as well. From 1912 to 1919 she led classes at the Art Students League, and painted most of her New England beach and pier scenes during this period. Later she taught with the Maryland Institute in Baltimore. Her paintings are considered major contributors to the American expressionist movement. In 1925 she began what she called her “flower portraits”, working from a home studio. As an artist, she earned acclaim in an era when women were seldom encouraged to join such professions.