Jane Piper, recognized by colleagues and critics alike as one of Philadelphia’s foremost painters and teachers, enjoyed a career that spanned fifty years and included thirty-five solo shows. Working mostly with still life, Pipe also often combined figurative and abstract elements. She has been described as an “instinctive individualist” and her independent spirit characterized her art, education, and approach to teaching. She was deeply committed to her painting and teaching and once said, “My primary interest [in making a painting] is to find a form that allows for the possibility of an expression of joy because, for me, art is about giving pleasure.”
Born in Philadelphia in 1917 Piper first became aware of her interest in art at the while traveling through France at the age of nine, enrolling in art lessons upon her return. She was influenced by an exhibition of work by Hugh Breckenridge and later studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art with Daniel Garber. Piper also studied with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown in 1941, as well as Earl Horter and Arthur Carles, and at the Barnes Foundation.
Piper taught painting and drawing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the mid-1950s and at the Philadelphia College of Art from 1956 to 1985. Piper’s first solo exhibition was held in 1943 at the Robert Carlen Gallery in Philadelphia. Her work was also exhibited in New York City, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Annuals from 1945 through 1968.