Margaret Jordan Patterson was born in Soerabaija, Java, and although both parents were American, the glowing color and luxuriance of the Tropics seems to have early gotten into her blood. As her artistic life developed, she was always joyously at home in Spain, Italy, France, where she painted for hours, luminous canvases that sing with sunshine, vibrate with blues, greens and crimsons, as do those of Sorolla: windblown cypresses, lovely golden yellow or faded pink plaster walls, bronze sails, shimmering seas.
After working at Pratt Institute with Arthur W. Dow (1857-1922),
she went to Paris to study with two famous Spanish painters,
Claudio Castelucho (1870-1927) and Angalaba, both of whom were
keenly interested in her work. In Boston, she worked much for
and with the late Charles H. Woodbury (1864-1940), also teaching
in his school. His theories were thoroughly in harmony with
her own and their warm friendship was based on mutual admiration.
Her work was early recognized as remarkable. Her paintings in
oil, watercolor, and pastel have been widely exhibited every
year in Europe and America from her first showing at the Paris
Salon in 1909 to important exhibitions in Sweden, Florence (Italy),
London and repeatedly in Boston and New York. She showed a group
of paintings at the "Fifty Years of WaterColour" special
exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and several at
the Chicago Art Institute WaterColour Exhibit in 1906. Her paintings
hang in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Los Angeles and Smith
College Museum, Chicago Art Institute and many other galleries.
Miss Patterson is internationally famous for her wood-block
prints, in black and white or in color, examples of which are
owned by Smithsonian Institute, Metropolitan Museum in New York,
Rhode Island School of Design, Cleveland Museum, Boston Museum
of Fine Arts, South Kensington Museum, London, and many others.
For her block prints she had Honorable Mention in the Panama
Pacific Exposition (1915) and in 1931 she received the coveted
Dawson Memorial Medal, Philadelphia.
Her prints are of flowers, landscapes and seascapes, delightful
in composition and mood, feeling for design, and illusion of
high relief - rich, like all her work in their sense of color
harmony. Like Whistler's etchings, they are reminiscent of Japanese
prints, yet completely original. Some were selected by Ethel
Mars (1876-1934) an] shown in the 1922 Champs de Mar Paris Salon.
They had already attracted Parisian attention at the Barbazanges
Gallery, just before World War I.
After Miss Patterson retired from teaching in 1940, she spent
her summers conducting summer classes in landscape painting
at her studio, Horn's Hill, on Monhegan Island, Maine, where
students worked in oil, gouache, water color and pencil.
Margaret Jordan Patterson died in Boston on February 17, 1950.