Jean Swan Gordon
(1922 - 2013)

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Bouquet in a Glass Bowl

Wildflowers and Dandelion

Bouquet in a Glass Bowl #2

Reclining Nude #2

My Garden


Nude Study


Mixed Bouquet

Bouquet with Poppies and Delphinium
in a Mason Jar

Bouquet with Red Zinnia





Jean was the eldest of four children, born in Brooklyn, New York to John and Helen Ross Swan. Jean was considered an artistic prodigy and painted until her death at the age of 91. She came to Old Lyme as a teenager and studied with Old Lyme colony painter, Winfield Scott Clime (1881-1958) and the famous portraitist Jerry Farnsworth (1895-1983) in North Truro, Massachusetts.

Jean graduated from Smith College in 1942 and married Navy Lieutenant Robert C. Gordon while he was home on “survivors leave” from the South Pacific having survived the sinking of his ship from an enemy attack.
The clear and disciplined line of Jean’s hand create a framework for her compositions while her gifted sense of color defines a soul.  Jean was adept at portraiture but she always returned to her distinct style of still-lifes combining her greatest loves: color, line and gardens.

There’s an irreverent joy in these “anti-bouquets” as they eschew the formal order of traditionally structured flower arrangements. These watercolors hold an honest appreciation for the vicissitudes of life. Rhythm, texture, line, bloom, fade, and decay harmoniously co-exist in her paintings. These images linger in the memory like an unforgettable jazz riff or perfect poem.

The Cooley Gallery is honored to host Jean’s first posthumous show in Old Lyme and offer such a fine body of work from another generation of Old Lyme artists.



- ph: 860.434.8807 - fax: 860.434.7526 -
25 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut 06371 Hours: Thursday - Saturday 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday 12 to 4 p.m. also by appointment.

Please note that all works are subject to prior sale, and prices are subject to change.