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Jane C. Peterson

Born: 1876, Elgin, Illinois, United States of America
Died: 1965, Leawood, Kansas, United States of America

Marché aux Fleurs
1908

Oil on canvas
Overall: 17 1/8 x 23 1/8in. (43.5 x 58.7cm)
Frame (c. 1910 American (Dutch-style) Arts and Crafts): 24 3/4 × 23 1/8 × 3 1/4in. (62.9 × 58.7 × 8.3cm)
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1994.17
Signed: Lower left: J.C. PETERSON/PARIS 1908
Artist Name: []

Interpretation

Jane Peterson's Marché aux Fleurs offers a glimpse of the famous flower market on the Ile de la Cité in the Seine River, in the heart of Paris. Blossoming plants in clay pots extend across the lower edge of the view, separating the seated, aproned figure of the vendor in the foreground from clusters of patrons beyond. Two girls in white hover over the flowers as a knot of women, with a black-clad child, converse behind them; on the right, another girl and a woman fashionably crowned by a large black hat stand over the wares. All are sheltered by the broad ribbed metal roof of the market, with the nearby monumental buildings sketched in the background.

In 1907, the year before Peterson painted Marché aux Fleurs, she had arrived in Europe for the first time and traveled in England, Holland, and Italy. Advised to study in Paris, she moved there in the spring of 1908 and also went to the Atlantic coastal province of Brittany. In these two French settings, her teachers were portrait and figure painters, but Peterson, drawn to outdoor scenes, found her own characteristic subjects in the world around her, including intimate views of Paris's popular haunts. She chose the flower market as the subject of many artistic portrayals. In contrast to fellow-American Elizabeth Nourse, whose Flower Market at Notre Dame (TF 1999.101) is also in the Terra Foundation collection, Peterson declined to emulate the usual tourist depiction showing the market in relation to imposing historic structures in its vicinity. Her confined glimpse of the subject focuses rather on the pleasurable experience of typical individual visitors who come to admire and purchase. This close-up take on the sprawling flower market is underscored by her rough application of oil paint in powerful, rapidly laid down strokes. The intimate and deliberately sketch-like nature of Marché aux Fleurs defies the architectural formality and grandeur of the French capital. In this respect, Peterson's painting recalls the work of other observers from abroad, such as Robert Henri, whose Street Corner in Paris (TF1999.70) is also in the Terra Foundation's collection.

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Provenance

The artist
Sotheby's New York, New York, May 25, 1994, lot 88
Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc., New York, New York
Terra Foundation for the Arts Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1994

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Exhibition History

American Artists and the Paris Experience, 1880–1910, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venues: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, November 22, 1997–March 8, 1998.

Ville et campagne: les artistes américains, 1870–1920 (The City and the Country: American Perspectives, 1870–1920), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–July 15, 1999; Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 10, 1999–May 7, 2000 (in modified form). [exh. cat.]

Héroïque et le quotidien: les artistes américains, 1820–1920 (The Extraordinary and the Everyday: American Perspectives, 1820–1920), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–November 30, 2001. [exh. cat.]

Paris and the American Woman, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venues: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, January 19–April 14, 2002.

Le Passage à Paris: les artistes américains en France, 1860–1930 (Passing through Paris: American Artists in France, 1860–1930), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, April 1–October 31, 2005. [exh. brochure]

Le Passage à Paris: les artistes américains en France, 1860–1930 (Passing through Paris: American Artists in France, 1860–1930), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, April 1–October 29, 2006. [exh. brochure]

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Published References

Sotheby's New York, New York (Sale 6568, May 25, 1994): lot 88. Ill. lot 88 (color).

Reymond, Nathalie. Un regard américain sur Paris. (An American Glance at Paris). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1997. Text p. 78; ill. p. 76 (color).

Cartwright, Derrick R. The City and the Country: American Perspectives, 1870–1920. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1999. Text p. 26 (checklist); ill. p. 36 (color).

Cartwright, Derrick R. Ville et campagne: les artistes américains, 1870–1920. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1999. Text p. 26 (checklist); ill. p. 36 (color).

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