Book Review: Jane Wilson Horizons

With a career spanning sixty years, Jane Wilson has amassed an enormous body of work ranging from abstracts to still lifes but it is her landscapes for which she is best known. Often the subject matter appears deceptively simple until the viewer begins taking in the subtle mastery of color, scope and scale that conjures an evocative, sometimes melancholy, often jubilant feel. Born in 1924 and raised on farms in southern Iowa, Wilson’s painting grew to encompass the sweeping vistas of her childhood in a melding of Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism.

Elizabeth Sussman, Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art provides a warm biography of Wilson’s life and those events and artists who influenced her work to the present day. Ralph Sessions picks up Wilson’s career immediately after she moved to New York with her husband, John Gruen including several excellent photographs. In order to support her painting, Wilson took up modeling where she quickly made a name for herself. While other artists tended to look down on her, Wilson’s modeling dovetailed with her painting and soon brought invitations to art exhibitions where the rest, as they say, is history.

Beautiful full color reproductions of Wilson’s work range from Orbit painted in 1951 to Hurricane Silence completed in 2008. This stunning volume concludes with a personal interview conducted by Justin Spring and a comprehensive illustrated chronology. For those unfamiliar with Wilson’s broad style, this volume provides a thorough introduction while including enough insights to satisfy her many admirers.


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