Born November 29 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to Martin and Birdie Niederhoffer. Her father is a real estate broker; her mother is a housewife and self-taught pianist who as a teenager accompanied silent moves in the local theater. She has two elder brothers, Arthur and Robert.
During the Depression the family moves to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where they live for many years. The real estate market collapses; later, her father will use his gifts as a linguist, finding work as a translator of Spanish and Yiddish in the Brooklyn court system.
Graduates as valedictorian, first from P.S. 100, then from Abraham Lincoln High School. Enrolls in Brooklyn College. After Pearl Harbor attack, elopes with musician Jack Freilicher; lives near West Point, where he is stationed playing in the West Point Army Band.
Jack Freilicher is discharged from the army and they move back to Brooklyn. Jane resumes classes at Brooklyn College, where she majors in art and takes classes in French literature and poetry.
Travels with Jack Freilicher to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, where he plays in a band with saxophonist Larry Rivers. Occupies herself painting and sketching while the band rehearses. Following her lead, Rivers tries his hand at painting. Meets painter Nell Blaine, whose Twenty-First Street loft is an informal salon for artists and musicians; meets Leland Bell, Rudy Burckhardt, Edwin Denby, Louisa Matthiasdottir, Robert De Niro, Sr., and Arnold Weinstein.
At Blaine’s suggestion, she and Rivers study with Hans Hofmann in New York and Provincetown. Fellow students include Paul Georges, Robert Goodnough, Wolf Kahn, Paul Resika, and Richard Stankiewicz.
Studies with Meyer Schapiro. Receives M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College. Meets poets Kenneth Koch and John Ashbery. Meets Frank O’Hara, to whom she makes her first sale of a painting. The Pierre Bonnard exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art has a profound influence on her painting. Marriage with Jack Freilicher is dissolved.
Plays the role of the psychiatrist in Rudy Burckhardt’s film Mounting Tension, which also stars Larry Rivers and John Ashbery. Teaches art to children at public school in Elizabeth, New Jersey. During the summer she reads Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and visits Frank O’Hara in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he is on fellowship at the university. Creates painting after Watteau’s Le Mezzetin.
Learns shorthand and is employed as a secretary in an office near the Museum of Modern Art, where Frank O’Hara and James Schuyler are both working. They frequently meet for lunch at Larre’s, an inexpensive French restaurant nearby.
First of many solo exhibitions at Tibor de Nagy Gallery. Meets artists Joan Mitchell, Alfred Leslie, Grace Hartigan, and Helen Frankenthaler. Fairfield Porter reviews solo show for ARTnews. A close friendship develops. Porter begins to show at Tibor de Nagy Gallery. Stays with John LaTouche and Kenward Elmslie in East Hampton. Later that summer rents cottage with Ashbery, Rivers, and Koch, socializing with New York School artists including Willem and Elaine de Kooning. Meets Joe Hazan, a businessman, former dancer, and later a painter. Sublets a studio for $11.35 a month on the top floor of a tenement on East Eleventh Street overlooking Con Edison smokestacks. Paints first views of the city from window.
Spends summer with Joe Hazan in Nyack, New York. On visit to Nyack, Porter paints a double portrait of her and his wife, Anne. Tibor de Nagy Gallery director John Bernard Myers sponsors the publication of collaborations between poets and artists, as well as the Artists’ Theatre, with sets designed by gallery artists. Turandot and Other Poems by John Ashbery, with illustrations by Jane Freilicher, is published by Tibor de Nagy Editions. Designs and paints set for The Lady’s Choice, a play by Barbara Guest at the Artists’ Theatre.
Fairfield Porter’s article “Jane Freilicher Paints a Picture” appears in ARTnews with photographs by Rudy Burckhardt. Painting Still Life with Calendulas is included in the Whitney Annual. Paintings included in a number of group shows including “Four Young Americans at the Museum of Art,” Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Motor trip to Mexico with Joe Hazan, John Ashbery, Grace Hartigan, and photographer Walter Silver.
Marries Joe Hazan. On eve of the wedding Joan Mitchell gives a wedding party, where Frank O’Hara reads “Poem Read at Joan Mitchell’s,” which he wrote in honor of the occasion. Moves to 16 West Eleventh Street. Begins spending summer in Water Mill.
Visits John Ashbery in Paris. Visits the studio of Jean Hélion. Meets painter Charles Marks. Builds house in Water Mill overlooking Mecox Bay. Paints abstractions of Water Mill landscape until her studio is built the following year.
Travels to Sicily and Barcelona with John Ashbery. Visits Saint-Estève in Provence, where they stay with artists Anne Dunn and Rodrigo Moynihan, who along with John Ashbery and Sonia Orwell publish Art & Literature.
Travels to Morocco with Hazan, John Ashbery, and Larry and Clarice Rivers, driving from Paris through Spain to Marrakech. Visits Paul and Jane Bowles in Tangier. “Jane Freilicher and Alex Katz: A Dialogue” appears in Art & Literature. Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton, Long Island, and the Grey Art Gallery at New York University acquire paintings. Fascination with Balthus and Courbet informs her paintings of nudes through the 1960s.
Daughter Elizabeth is born. Family moves to apartment on lower Fifth Avenue with large greenhouse studio and expansive views of Manhattan. Portfolio of drawings published in the Paris Review.
Frank O’Hara dies in an accident on Fire Island. A portrait drawing of the poet by Freilicher is included in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition and accompanying publication In Memory of My Feelings, celebrating O’Hara’s life.
Invited as visiting artist to the University of Pennsylvania by art department chairman Neil Welliver. Guest lectures at Skowhegan School, Maine. Visits Fairfield and Anne Porter on Great Spruce Head Island, Maine.
Exhibits at the John Bernard Myers Gallery after Myers’s partnership with Tibor de Nagy dissolves. “Urban Pastorals: The Manhattan Scene” by Peter Schjeldahl published in ARTnews.
Work included in Whitney Annual. Represented by Fourcade-Droll Gallery.
Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. Joins Fischbach Gallery under the directorship of Aladar Marberger.
Selected by Andrea Miller-Keller for Matrix series at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut. Receives grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Commissioned by U.S. Department of the Interior for traveling bicentennial exhibition “America 1976.” Work included in exhibitions at Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas, and the Brooklyn Museum.
One-person exhibition at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Participates on panel with John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and Larry Rivers for exhibition “Poets and Painters” at the Denver Art Museum. Paintings included in “Tracking the Marvelous,” a show organized by John Bernard Myers at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University. Metropolitan Museum of Art acquires painting Autumnal Landscape. Work is included in “Recent Acquisitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.” Designs set for The Red Robins, a play by Kenneth Koch.
Designs set for The Heroes, a play by John Ashbery, presented at the Eye and Ear Theater, New York. Work included in “Sunlight on Leaves: The Impressionist Tradition,” Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas.
Elected to the National Academy of Design. One-person exhibition at Kansas City Art Institute.
Retrospective exhibition at Currier Gallery of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire; exhibit travels to Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York; Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, Texas; and Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas. Publication of monograph Jane Freilicher with essays by John Ashbery, Linda L. Cathcart, and John Yau (Taplinger Publishing Company).
Awarded Saltus Gold Medal by the National Academy of Design. Visiting artist at Skowhegan School.
Inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York.
Receives Eloise Spaeth Award for Distinguished Achievement in Painting from the Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York.
Included in the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Receives the Benjamin Altman Prize for Landscape from the National Academy of Design. Metropolitan Museum of Art acquires her painting The Lute Player, inspired by Watteau. Painting is included in “Recent Acquisitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”
Receives the 12th Annual Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York. Spends summer in La Foce, the estate of Iris Origo in Tuscany, with her husband, daughter Elizabeth, son-in-law Stephen Hicks, and infant grandson.
Represented by Tibor de Nagy Gallery. “View from Her Window is Enough” by Dinitia Smith appears in The New York Times. “Intimate Interiors: Jane Freilicher and Fairfield Porter” mounted by the Whitney Museum of American Art at Champion, Stamford, Connecticut. John Ashbery’s Description of a Masque, published by Limited Edition Club, includes three woodcuts by Freilicher.
Invited to make a print at Crown Point Press in San Francisco that is included in the publication Why Draw a Landscape? by Kathan Brown.
Shows a selection of her paintings of New York City in connection with the exhibition “The Artist’s Eye: Jane Freilicher as Curator,” the National Academy of Design, New York.
Receives Edwin Palmer Memorial Prize at the 178th Annual Exhibition of the National Academy of Design. Honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy, New York. Monograph by Klaus Kertess, with essays by John Ashbery and Thomas Nozkowski, published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Wins the Gold Medal in Painting from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Exhibition of her early abstractions is shown at Tibor de Nagy Gallery. Included in a three-person exhibition, “Inspired by the Light,” along with April Gornik and Jane Wilson at the Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York.
Paintings included in “American Still Life: Treasures from the Parrish Art Museum,” Southampton, New York. Three prints are co-published by Jungle Press and Tibor de Nagy Gallery. Included in “September 11” at MoMA PS1, which opens on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Featured in gallery’s 60th Anniversary exhibition “Tibor de Nagy Gallery Painters & Poets.”
Painting included in Parrish Museum exhibition inaugurating its new Herzog & de Meuron building in Water Mill, New York. Husband Joe Hazan dies.
“Jane Freilicher: Painter Among Poets,” Tibor de Nagy Gallery. “Jane Freilicher, a Painter Amid Friends” by Gina Bellafante appears in The New York Times. Paintings included in John Ashbery Collects: Poet Among Things,” Loretta Howard Gallery, New York; and “Interior: Curated by Barry Rosen,” Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York.
“Painters Among Poets,” The Poetry Foundation, Chicago. Exhibition of paintings and works on paper at Valerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago. The artist dies on December 9, a week after her nintieth birthday. A celebration of her life, “Presenting Jane,” is held at the Poetry Project at St. Marks’s Church, New York. “Generosity of Everyday Surrealism: Jane Freilicher’s Friends Celebrate Her Life and Art” by Holland Cotter appears in The New York Times.
“Jane Freilicher and Jane Wilson: Seen and Unseen,” The Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York. Works included in “Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler,” Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Massachusetts. The artist’s ashes are interred at Green River Cemetery near other noted artists and writers, including her friend poet Frank O’Hara.
Works included in “Before Sunset,” KARMA, Amagansett, New York; and “Intimisms,” James Cohan Gallery, New York. As part of “Presenting Jane & John: Freilicher and Ashbery on Film and in Print,” Karin Roffman introduces the short film “Presenting Jane” (1952), Woodbury Poetry Room, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Morgan Library & Museum acquires a watercolor and the original drawing for a print that was commissioned in 1965 by The Paris Review.
“Jane Freilicher, Mira Dancy, Daniel Heidkamp,” Derek Eller Gallery, New York. The artist’s estate is represented by Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.