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Jane Emmet de Glehn
In a Garden, Corfu (Jane Emmet de Glehn) by John Singer Sargent.
Born 1873
New Rochelle, New York
Died 1961
Nationality American
Field Painting, Portraiture

Jane Erin Emmet de Glehn (1873-1961) was an American figure and portrait painter.


Early life

Born in New Rochelle, New York, she was the youngest daughter of ten siblings.[1]. Her great-great-uncle Robert Emmet was a notable Irish nationalist who was hanged in 1803 for high treason by the British court for his attempt to implement an abortive Irish rebellion. Lydia Field Emmet's great-grandfather Thomas Addis Emmet, Robert's older brother, emigrated to the United States after Robert's execution. Thomas Addis Emmet would later become the New York State Attorney General. His daughter Elizabeth Emmet (b.1794), Jane's great-aunt, would study portraiture under the direction of a steamboat designer and portrait artist named Thomas Fulton.[2]

Both her older sisters Rosina Emmet Sherwood (1854-1948) and Lydia Field Emmet (1866-1952) would also become successful artists, as well as their first cousin Ellen Emmet "Bay" Rand (1876-1941).[3] She is also the aunt of the prominent American playwright Robert Emmet Sherwood.

One of Emmet de Glenn's brothers, William LeRoy Emmet, was an accomplished engineer employed by General Electric.[4] A graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, he was a pioneer in the areas of current electricity and power generation, best known for his work with steam turbines, mercury vapor, and electric ship propulsion.[5][6][7] Another of her brothers was Robert Temple Emmet, a West Point graduate, and Medal of Honor recipient.[8]

Early career

Jane Emmet's career began while studying at the New York’s Art Students League and studied under Frederick William MacMonnies.[9] Then travelled to Europe to view the work of the Grand Masters and continue her studies. After returning to America, she met and married the notable British impressionist painter Wilfrid de Glehn (1870-1951) in 1904 in New Rochelle, New York.[9]

Marriage and friendship with John Singer Sargent

Following her marriage to de Glehn, the couple honeymooned in Cornwall, England and vacationed in Paris and Venice and made a permanent home in London. In England Jane continued to draw and paint, exhibiting her work at the New English Art Club, the Royal Academy and the Royal Hibernian Academy. She worked mainly in the mediums of chalk and charcoal. The young couple become frequent travelling companions of the American painter John Singer Sargent, whom Jane Emmet de Glehn had met at performance of the dancer Carmencita in 1890[10], and between 1905 and 1914 the trio often depicted each other in each of their works whilst travelling throughout Europe.[11]

When World War I broke out, both Jane and Wilfrid joined the staff of a British hospital for French soldiers, Hopital Temporaire d'Arc-en-Barrois, Haute-Marne, France in January 1915. On their return to England the following year Wifrid was commissioned in the Artists’ Rifles and seconded to the Front in Italy in 1917. After the war they returned to England and Wilfred held a solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries and another solo show in New York in 1920. For the next decade the two would spend summers in Cornwall and winters in France.

Later life

Unlike her sisters, or her cousin Ellen Emmet Rand, or even her husband, Jane Emmet de Glehn was not a prolific artist; after 1913 Jane generally exhibited her work alongside of that of her husband[12]. During the 1930s and 1940s Jane had a studio in New York. In 1940 she shared an exhibition with her sister Lydia Field Emmet, and like her sisters and cousin, preferred to mostly work in portraiture. After her husband's death in 1951, Jane Emmet de Glehn spent much of her time casually sketching her extended family and members of her social circle. She and Wilfrid had no children and she died in 1961.


In late April 2007, Arden Galleries in Manhattan held a family exhibit of five generations of the Emmet women's paintings. The 130 exhibits by 14 artists began with nine portraits by Jane Emmet de Glehn's great-aunt Elizabeth Emmet (a.k.a. Elizabeth Emmet LeRoy) and ended with nine sculptures by great-great-grandniece Julia Townsend, aged 22, and with two by Beulah Emmet, aged 18.[2]


  1. ^ Emmet Family Tree
  2. ^ a b Time Magazine. Friday, May 04, 2007
  3. ^ Messum's
  4. ^ Weber, Robert J. Inventive Minds: Creativity in Technology, Vol 49, p. 293 New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1992
  5. ^ Broderick, John T. Willis Rodney Whitney: Pioneer of Industrial Research, p. 133. Kessinger Publishing, 2006
  6. ^ William LeRoy Emmet. Institute of Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. [1]
  7. ^ Weber, Robert J. Inventive Minds: Creativity in Technology, Vol 49, p. 293 New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1992
  8. ^ "Medal of Honor Recipients Indian Wars Period". Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 2009-04-17.  
  9. ^ a b Messum's
  10. ^ John Singer Sargent Viryual Gallery
  11. ^ John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery
  12. ^ Tappert, Tara Leigh: The Emmets: A Generation of Gifted Women, New York: Borghi and Co., 1993.

External links



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