Jane Peterson "The Floats" Gouache, ca. 1915
It comes through my grandfather's sister, my great-aunt. She was a teacher at Brooklyn Polytech High in New York in the 1920s, somewhere in that area. And at the same time that she was teaching science, Jane Peterson, who is the artist, was the director of drawing for the Brooklyn Public Schools. And in addition to teaching science, my great-aunt also was artistic. I guess they struck up a friendship. I do know that my great-aunt spent one of her summers off up in Gloucester, which is the site of this painting, and painted with Jane. She acquired this painting from Jane, and it has been in our family for about the last 80 years.
Jane Peterson was actually born Jennie Christine in Elgin, Illinois, in 1876. And she came to New York to study in Pratt Institute in 1895 and graduated in 1901 and managed to save up enough money to go study in Europe, which was what every American artist wanted to do at that time. And when she lived in Paris, she actually was neighbors with Gertrude Stein.
And through that connection managed to meet people like Picasso and Matisse. She also traveled with artists such as Louis Comfort Tiffany and John Singer Sargent. There is a very interesting label on the back of your painting that says "George Of." And he was another artist, but he's really better known for making frames, and we think that he probably created this frame.
I wondered about that label because I didn't know who George was.
Peterson came back to the States and as you said started teaching and exhibiting, and she really was quite respected and revered. She was honored by Time magazine, and she really got a lot of honors and recognition in her lifetime. She tends to use these very bright colors and a lot of vibrant brushwork, kind of Post-Impressionist. And this being Gloucester is one of her favorite places to paint. She made a lot of trips painting along the Massachusetts coast. She's also known for her views of Venice and her scenes of New York, and also she painted a lot of flowers. And now you inherited this from your mother and you said that she had had it appraised.
She had it appraised in 1998. At that time, it was appraised at $9,200.
Well, I looked at that appraisal and I noticed that it was referred to as a watercolor, and it's actually gouache, which is a water-based paint, but it's very opaque. One thing that makes it desirable is having so many figures, and it's such a great subject to see, these floats, it's a wonderful image. So I think if this were to sell in a retail gallery, it might bring as much as $50,000.
Oh my word. (laughs) Wow.
Well... So I was really excited to see it today.
Aunt Olga, thank goodness you saved it.
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