JANE PETERSON (1876–1965)
Beach Scene, about 1916–20
Gouache on paper, 9 x 12 in.
Signed (at lower left): JANE PETERSON
EX COLL.: Eleanor Jacobs, Connecticut, by 1990 until 2020; to her estate, until the present
Beach Scene belongs to a genre beloved by impressionist painters: depictions of fellow citizens enjoying leisure activities away from the stresses of everyday life. Between 1914 and 1924, Peterson found inspiration in New England locales, destinations that became especially attractive in the years of World War I, when Peterson’s accustomed fishing villages of Holland, Belgium, England, and Brittany were inaccessible. These offered a patriotic equivalent, made all the more attractive by easy transportation from New York and Boston. Although there is, at present, no precise chronology of Peterson’s travels, she exhibited New England views as early as 1915 and regularly thereafter. In selecting these destinations, Peterson followed a well-trod path, following past and present American artists including Winslow Homer, William Morris Hunt, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, Edward Potthast, John Twachtman, Edward Hopper, John Sloan, Stuart Davis, and Maurice Prendergast. Beach Scene shows bathers at the end of a sunny day on a sandy strand. A few umbrellas remain up, but the pink hue on the edge of the horizon suggest a late hour. `The work is carefully composed with horizontal bands of beach, water, and sky dramatically punctuated by a strong diagonal of beachgoers seated beachgoers attracting the viewer’s first attention.