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Fine Art, Monkeys in Tropical Landscapes, Jane Peterson, Pair of Watercolors (Sold)

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Jane Peterson (1876-1965)
Monkeys in Tropical Landscapes
American: Mid 20th Century
One signed lower right, the other lower left: Jane Peterson
Watercolors heightened with white over pencil on Crescent watercolor board
15 x 21.75 inches each

A pair of landscape watercolors of monkeys within a row of tropical trees through which a simple landscape background is seen. One shows the monkeys in repose, two standing on the ground, one perched above them in a tree. The other shows three monkey in the trees, while one crouches on the ground, with sailboats on the water beyond. The monkeys, in tones of grey and black, nearly silhouette against the background. In this way, the artist subtly plays up the visual parallels between the monkeys’ curving limbs — accentuated by outlines of their bodies — against those of the tree limbs that surround them.

At least two other very similar Peterson paintings of monkeys in a landscape are known. Peterson traveled widely making numerous paintings in Florida; she did numerous other landscapes similar in look and style to the offered pair — though generally without monkeys and frequently with palm trees — that are often described as being taken in Florida. It is quite possible that the offered pair were painted by Peterson while in Florida as well.

Product description continues below.


Jane Peterson was a painter in watercolor, gouache and oils, best known for her landscapes of the Massachusetts and Florida coasts, picturesque street scenes of European destinations, and floral still lifes. According to the reference work American Art Analog, “[h]er vibrant watercolors provide a vital link between the impressionist and expressionist movements in American art.” Born in Illinois, she left in 1895 to study art at the Pratt Institute in New York and was already teaching there by the time she graduated in 1901. Traveling abroad in 1907, she continued her own studies with Joaquin Sorolla, Frank Brangwyn and Andre L’Hote and absorbed the influences of avant garde French art. In 1909, Peterson exhibited in well-received one-person shows in Boston and New York. Within a few years, she had established a successful career selling her paintings to a wealthy clientele and teaching at the Art Students League in New York City and at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She traveled and painted with leading American and European artists of her era, including Sorolla, Louis Comfort Tiffany, John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam and Maurice Prendergast. In 1925, she began producing what she called “flower portraits,” bold, stylized still lifes. That year, the New York Times referred to her as “one of the foremost women painters in New York.” In 1938, she was honored as “most outstanding individual of the year” by the American Historical Society for her art.

Peterson was a fellow of the National Academy of Design and was a member of the American Watercolor Society, Audubon Artists, National Association of Women Artists, American Federation of Arts, and other organizations. Throughout her career, Peterson exhibited around the United States and in Paris and won numerous prizes. In addition to her numerous shows at commercial galleries, she participated in exhibitions at the Corcorcan Gallery of Art, National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, High Museum of Art and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, among others. She also authored the book Flower Painting. Today her works are in major museum collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.


Gilbert, Dorothy B., ed. Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts and R.R. Bowker, 1959. p. 445.

“Jane Peterson.” (16 January 2006).

Zellman, Michael David, dir. American Art Analog. Vol. 3. Chelsea House: New York, 1986. p. 777.

Additional information


20th Century