JANE PETERSON (1876–1965)
Golden Glow, about 1915
Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 in.
Signed (at lower left): JANE PETERSON
EXHIBITED: Connecticut Academy of the Fine Arts, Hartford, 1915, Fifth Annual Exhibition // Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1922, One Hundred Seventeenth Annual Exhibition // Spanierman Gallery, New York, 1996, Painters of Cape Ann, 1840–1940: One Hundred Years in Gloucester & Rockport
EX COLL: Jonathan Joseph, Los Angeles, California, until 1996; to [Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York]; to private collection, 1997 until the present
Jane Peterson visited Gloucester for a series of summers during the years of World War I. At a time when her accustomed fishing ports of Holland, Belgium, England, and Brittany were inaccessible, Gloucester offered a patriotic equivalent, made all the more attractive by an easy rail trip from New York and Boston. Although there is, at present, no precise chronology of Peterson’s travels, she exhibited Gloucester views as early as 1915 and regularly thereafter. Golden Glow, painted in 1914 or 1915, is a Gloucester street scene, an image of a residential street curving steeply downhill to the harbor below. Another painting from the same vantage point by the artist Antonio Cirino (188–1983) identifies the location as “Rocky Neck, East Gloucester.” Rocky Neck is a peninsula extending into Gloucester harbor, separated from the East Gloucester mainland by the protected waters of Smith’s Cove. The peninsula, still the location of numerous galleries and studios, prides itself on being “home to one of the oldest continuously operating art colonies in the United States” (for more information, see https://essexheritage.org/attractions/rocky-neck-art-colony). Peterson’s view here reflects her years of impressionist training in Europe. It is America seen through the lens of a European sensibility, but it is definitely America. Three prominent utility poles support overhead electrical wires, a distinctly American twentieth-century touch. Their verticality is repeated in the distance in the three-masted boat at anchor in Smith’s cove, a reminder of the nineteenth-century importance of these tall trees. The picture offers a study in color contrast. Peterson sets a shaded foreground, a harbinger of the end of day, against the glow of the background, illuminated by the brilliant light of the setting sun.