Detail of a work by Jane Peterson showing characters enjoying a carousel in Paris

Jane Peterson

American, 1876-1965

Carousel in Paris, 1908

Oil on canvas

18 x 24 inches

Signed and dated lower left

Known for her radiant scenes of Venetian canals, Gloucester harbors, and “flower portraits,”[1] Jane Peterson did not follow the quintessential modes of American Impressionism. A fiercely independent personality, Peterson drew upon varied influences and experiences as she navigated her own artistic path. Impressionism was certainly one of these influences, but it did not define her work.

Carousel in Paris in typical of Peterson’s early style. Its strong yet diluted forms, sparse detail, and relatively somber palette are characteristic of works she completed in Paris. The subject—a slice of modern life and middle-class recreation—is decidedly Impressionist. Influences of Impressionism also filter into the attention to light, atmosphere, and movement. Warm reflections of the sun can be seen on the children’s figures lining the foreground and the soft touch of light on the woman’s shoulder. The contrasting band of pink and blue on the carousel awning, combined with the rich brown and green hues of the landscape, make this an intriguing transitional work—the bold flourishes of peony pink a portent of what her new direction would become.

1. Essay by Jennifer A. Bailey, Masters of Light: Selections of American Impressionism from the Manoogian Collection, Vero Beach, Florida: Vero Beach Museum of Art, 2006, pp. 86-87, illustrated.
Detail of a work by Jane Peterson showing characters enjoying a carousel in Paris